The first car seat capable of detecting stress levels was unveiled during the Connected Car Expo in Los Angeles this week.
Automotive parts manufacturer Faurecia and Stanford University’s Center for Design Research developed the car seat, dubbed the Active Wellness seat.
It was developed to keep drivers alert and comfortable while in a self-driving car, according to a press release. The Active Wellness seat is embedded with sensors to detect heart rate and breathing rates.
By measuring factors like heart rate, the seat can detect the driver’s stress levels and employ counter-measurements to make sure the driver remains focused and comfortable, such as activating massage therapy.
A tablet attached to the car will alert the driver that it advises a massage to reduce stress. From there, the driver can choose whether or not to activate the function.
“Active Wellness is one of the ways Faurecia is already pursuing new functionalities and designs in seating and interiors to address emerging issues related to driving connected/autonomous vehicles,” Rob Huber, vice president of innovation for Faurecia, wrote in the press release.
When people use autonomous vehicles, they may choose to read or use devices while in the car, which can contibure to motion sickness. As a result, Faurecia is “now in active development around innovation” that will allow the seat to mitigate motion sickness, though the press release does not get into specifics about what kind of innovations it will use.
Other players in the automotive industry are looking at ways to re-design interiors for self-driving cars.
Mercedes unveiled a concept car,
self-driving Mercedes-Benz F 01, with four motorised chairs that can swivel to allow for face-to-face conversations at the Consumers Electronic Show in Las Vegas at the beginning of the year.
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