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Advanced driving tech reaches into health field

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Valeo was not the only automotive supplier to showcase a health monitoring system. Mitsubishi Electric also used the week of CES to unveil an advanced driver-assistance system that it says can monitor the health of the driver and occupants in a vehicle.

The supplier said near-infrared cameras and radio-wave sensors in its monitoring system can detect whether the driver is drowsy or sick through facial expressions or by detecting the driver’s pulse and respiration.

If it detects the driver is asleep or having a medical event such as a heart attack, stroke or seizure, Mitsubishi Electric said the system sounds an alarm. If the driver is unresponsive, it contacts a support center that the supplier says can stop a vehicle on the shoulder of the roadway.

“It can see over time if this person is OK, if he’s sick, if he’s having a heart attack and can make adjustments accordingly,” said Mark Rakoski, vice president of advanced engineering at Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America.

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Rakoski said the system could, over time, allow for health information to be sent to a family doctor or other health providers, with the driver and passengers’ consent. It could also be used to determine how comfortable the driver and passengers are while in the vehicle and make changes to lighting or the music playing through the infotainment system to make adjustments.

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