Could your car help to keep you healthy?

Vehicles have not always been known for keeping their occupants healthy, a fact that some automotive manufacturers are looking to address. 

While they've become adept at fostering a healthy environment through green cars, the next step is to turn their attention inward, focusing on the driver. According to Frost & Sullivan, this is not all down to emissions either, as it includes features such as ergonomic seating and health monitors. 

The developments are an addition to connected cars, extending the technology from crash prevention to an overall health service. 

How long until fleet managers get their hands on them?

Health, wellness and wellbeing technologies (HWW) are closer to an idea than reality at this stage, especially with safe, fuel-efficient vehicles currently taking the spotlight. 

Frost & Sullivan believes these will be more of a development focus in the coming years, with the firm expecting between 30 and 40 per cent of all vehicles to have some form of them by 2018.

HWW features - as Frost & Sullivan refers to them - can include "non-critical" options like adjustable seats and mood lighting. 

There's also a further variety in the works. "Critical" technologies will encompass features that can measure blood-pressure and other health indicators that could indicate an emergency. According to Automotive and Transport Industry Analyst Neelam Barua, this indicates a wider trend in the healthcare industry as well.

"With the anticipated shift in the delivery of healthcare services to outside hospitals, smart homes and cars will clearly become new points for measuring, monitoring, basic diagnosing and communicating with individuals about their health," he said. 

"Thus, future cars are likely to be designed and reconfigured based on travellers' age and health conditions."

What will the result be?

Ideally, these technologies will reduce some of the poor driving behaviours borne out of faulty car interior ergonomics, which can cause long-term injuries or strains. This is because vehicles require a unique set of ergonomics that are different to those seen in a conventional office.

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, this can cause discomfort and/or pain, so a car that can detect these issues will greatly affect employee wellbeing. 

However, what if you want these technologies now? Rather than wait years for the tech to emerge in brand new cars, it's possible to buy a seat that can automatically adjust itself. 

Researchers at Faurecia have constructed a seating system that can "detect and respond" to the drivers' health and wellness signifiers, so you don't have to worry about your driving posture again.