Mercedes wants its vehicles to serve as personal health devices

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Mercedes-Benz is envisioning a future where the automobile doubles as a personal health device.

The car maker discussed this topic in detail at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which has come in recent years to very prominently feature automotive companies. Ola Kallenius, member of the Board of Management at Daimler AG, responsible for group research and Mercedes-Benz cars development, said some of these systems will find their way into the commercial vehicles Daimler produces.

For example, Mercedes is developing a vest for professional drivers, which will “in a much more sophisticated way, measure heartbeat and any type of medical condition that could be developing,” Kallenius explained. “If you are approaching a heart attack, the vest will know before you do. It can stop the truck before an accident happens and save lives.”

Another technology Mercedes is developing is motion seating, which will adjust the position of the seat or activate massage features to stimulate blood flow and alertness in a driver who has become tired or has sat for too long without moving.

“The car will move the seat around, not in a dramatic way that will take your eyes off the road, but with a combination of seat movement, massage and sound and perfect seat position to engage the body with the seating process, your body will be more healthy,” Kallenius said.

The vehicle can also adjust the air temperature, sound, light and scent based on a driver’s condition, responding to anything from stress to fatigue.

“Your car should be a fitness machine,” Kallenius added. “Why shouldn’t the car interact with your body and mind in a positive way to make you feel better?”

Kallenius said the goal is to ensure drivers feel better and healthier at the end of a drive, than they did at the beginning. Of course, professional drivers will be the biggest benefactors, if and when these technologies work their ways into commercial vehicles.

At CES, Mercedes demonstrated an FDA-approved wearable fitness device developed with Phillips. Mercedes put sensors into the car that communicate with the device and display a driver’s health information.

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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