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Wednesday
May182011

Allergy-Sniffing Cars in the Works

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- The Ford Motor Co. plans to leverage its existing SYNC infotainment system to monitor pollen alerts and local weather forecasts as part of its health management services geared toward helping the more than 60 million Americans plagued with asthma and seasonal allergies.

Anyone who suffers from asthma or allergies knows it helps to have a clear understanding of environmental factors and potential symptom triggers such as pollen counts in order to avoid an attack. To sniff out the best allergy prevention applications, Ford worked with experts, including medical device manufacturers, health care management service providers, and Web-based medical alert services, to come up with a series of onboard "apps" and phone apps that can be synched up to your ride.

To avert itchy eyes and runny noses, the cars will use a variety of tools, including Bluetooth wireless connections, that will allow the cars to share information with medical devices and perhaps even doctors, much the same as it already allows voice activated cellphone connections. Working off the same GPS technology that gives you driving directions and traffic reports, cloud-based applications -- software you can access without owing a physical copy -- will provide instant access to medical services.

Ford is also partnering with www.pollen.com, among others, to SYNC-enable its smartphone Allergy Alert app. This will provide drivers with location-based, day-by-day index levels for pollen, asthma, cold and cough and ultraviolet sensitivity, as well as four-day forecasts.

And this is just the beginning of Ford's health care cars. The company is exploring a variety of apps and services for diabetics, including glucose monitoring and real-time patient coaching, behavioral education and medication adherence support.

Ford, which is apparently the only automaker with such "medical" cars in the works, plans to have the mobile allergy sniffers on the road within two years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio