QUINCY, Mass., May 27, 2011 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Whether it’s the newest pop music sensation or low glucose levels that make you feel ill, the Ford SYNC system can help you find a cure. The innovative in-car entertainment and navigation system is learning a few new tricks to monitor driver health that may soon be found in Greater Boston Ford dealership showrooms like Quirk Ford in Quincy.
Ford is offering support for two audiences with the research and technology going into new SYNC services: diabetics, who number nearly 19 million people in the United States according to the American Diabetes Association, and those with asthma or severe allergies. Leveraging the Bluetooth connectivity and cloud-based computing used to provide entertainment and navigation, Ford SYNC could soon monitor glucose levels and display location-based air-quality reports. SYNC is available in 13 different Ford cars, trucks and SUVs, ranging from the 2012 Ford Focus to Ford Super Duty trucks.
“With the amount of time we spend in cars, it makes sense to incorporate some health monitoring into the technology we already use,” said Michael Quirk, general manager of Quirk Ford. “Ford is working with industry innovators to bring these technologies to market as quickly as possible. Some of the applications, like glucose monitoring, will take time to perfect, but other features like pollen and air-quality readings could be implemented very soon.”
Allergy Alert could be one of the first applications added to the SYNC lineup, which is welcome news to Massachusetts Ford drivers dealing with allergies this spring. Ford is currently working with Pollen.com and SDI Health to SYNC-enable its Allergy Alert smartphone application through AppLink, Ford software that allows users to control smartphones with voice commands. Allergy Alert features that Ford drivers can look forward to include real-time index levels for pollen, other allergens and UV rays based on GPS-targeted locations. The applications also furnish four-day weather forecasts to help drivers plan ahead.
Medtronic is another healthcare company working with Ford to develop in-car health monitoring. A leading manufacturer of glucose-monitoring hardware, Medtronic is developing a system that will use Bluetooth connectivity to allow Ford SYNC to display and track trends directly from a Medtronic glucose-monitoring device. The system will even be able to alert the driver if glucose levels drop to a point that makes it dangerous to be behind the wheel.
The entire suite of SYNC healthcare services will be integrated with WellDoc’s cloud-based mHealth services. Ford SYNC users will be able to access their personalized WellDoc accounts and use voice commands to update their profiles and receive instant patient coaching, medication reminders and behavioral advice based on their past and current medical histories.
“Connectivity is the name of the game now, from computers to phones and now to cars,” Quirk said. “Ford’s SYNC was a leap forward in the evolution of in-car control systems, and now Ford is taking another big step by integrating healthcare services into cars. It’s not a replacement for a real doctor, but it is a step toward a healthier driving public.”
Ford is exploring other wellness technologies that will help reduce stress behind the wheel. The automaker paired with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a nine-month study that explored the connection between stress and driving performance. The study found that technology which improves driver confidence, like Ford’s active park assist and cross-traffic alert, helps to reduce stress on the road.
About Quirk Ford:
Quirk Ford is the largest Ford dealer by sales volume in New England and a winner of The President’s Award for customer satisfaction six years in a row. Quirk offers a full line of new Ford vehicles, including the Ford Fusion, Ford Focus and Escape Hybrid models, as well as an extensive selection of pre-owned cars, SUVs, trucks and hybrids. For more information, call 877-236-7314, visit them online at www.quirkford.com, Like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/QuirkFord or stop by their dealership at 540 Southern Artery in Quincy, Mass.
Jim Smith, of Quirk Automotive Group, 781-843-4800