Ford Motor Company has reached out to electronics company Flex, Fortune reports, as the automaker weighs placing more biometric sensors in its cars, vans, trucks, and SUVs.
Flex already makes sensors that help enable Ford’s semi-autonomous driving features, and the electronics company’s other clients include Apple, Fitbit, Johnson & Johnson, and Nike. Flex Chief Marketing Officer Michael Mendenhall says that Ford is interested in deploying more biometric sensors in its passenger vehicles as the automaker “recognizes… those sensors can read a person’s biological makeup and understand whether the person is falling sleep at the wheel or not.”
That capability could play an important role not only in the human-driven cars of today, but also in the self-driving cars of tomorrow, if for instance the car should need to make sure the driver is attentive enough to assume manual control. Fortune also points out a second possibility: that Ford could install CO2 sensors in its passenger vehicles to detect expiration from children and pets that have been left behind in error, and alert the owner. General Motors is known to be working on its own solution to the tragically common problem at the present.
Rumor has it that Ford engineers working on the company’s autonomous-vehicle program have shown a tendency to doze off behind the wheel, and whether or not those rumors are true, biometric sensors like the ones that Ford is exploring could be the solution when such self-driving cars make it to market.