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Car health apps to help drivers with diabetes, allergies

October 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A medical emergency at 60 mph? A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found 84 percent of drivers in crashes experienced medical emergencies before the wreck. Car companies are hoping to change those statistics through technology.

When you think car safety, airbags or seatbelts might come to mind. But what about car healthy? That's what engineers at Ford Motor Co. are working on right now.

"It's kind of an extension just on driver safety," said Gary Strumolo, a Ford health and safety researcher.

Using Bluetooth, they're making health and wellness apps for your car and collaborating with medical professionals to help people with diabetes, asthma and allergies.

The system will be able connect to servers that access patient information and alert drivers to medical red flags. It can even give suggestions on how to prevent a diabetic episode. Strumolo said this is only the beginning.

"Imagine that you could ask for the healthiest route," said Strumolo.

Future plans include tying in your car's GPS to shut air vents or re-route you if you're driving through areas with poor air quality. For diabetics, the system can tell you when your sugar is low and let you know where the nearest convenience store is so you can get something.

The allergy alert app currently is available for free for people with iPhones. Toyota is also working on a steering wheel with a built-in echocardiogram that can tell if a driver is having a heart attack.