Soon cars will be able to alert you if you are falling asleep at the wheel and take action if you are unresponsive, thanks to research in progress at Nottingham Trent University in the UK.
The research, carried out in collaboration with UK sensor tech firm Plessey, aims to integrate heart-rate sensors unobtrusively into the fabric of the driver's seat.
The sensors check vital signs for dropping alertness and trigger warnings if it dips dangerously low. The technology might also enable automatic systems to take over the car if the driver remains unresponsive.
The system could save thousands of lives: 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep-related according to Think! – a road safety campaign launched by the UK government.
It is another step towards smarter cars that are more in tune with the human body and have more automation. For more on automotive futures, see our reporting from Connected Cars 2014 and RCA Vehicle Design 2014.