Car manufacturers will over the next decade introduce a batch of new in-car medical monitoring devices that will check the health and wellbeing of drivers and passengers and, at the same time, expand the electronics supply chain, new research from Frost & Sullivan shows.
As automakers enhance their safety features, health, wellness and wellbeing (HWW) technologies will add a new dimension to the worldwide automotive electronics market, which Research and Markets estimates will reach $314 billion by 2020.
In its latest report entitled, Executive Outlook of Health, Wellness, and Wellbeing Technologies in the Global Automotive Industry, Frost & Sullivan analysts found that mass market car manufacturers such as Ford and Toyota, as well as high-end auto makers including BMW and Audi are emerging as the leaders that will drive the integration of HWW technologies.
Among the gadgets consumers can expect future cars to have by 2025 are systems that can detect driver drowsiness, monitor fatigue and compute stress levels. Additionally, car seats that monitor health signs such as blood pressure, stress, and blood sugar levels, as well as in-car systems that detect a driver’s pulse, oxygen saturation and perspiration are all features that auto manufacturers are seeking to develop, the report states.
As digital health and wellness monitors become more ubiquitous, consumers are finding that they can track their vital signs anywhere and at any time. The business case for HWW technologies in cars is further strengthened, the report’s authors say, because the world’s population of older citizens is increasing and will therefore be more likely to embrace in-car technologies that check their health status. This demographic shift offers auto OEMs a clear opportunity to boost their competitive edge while providing customers health related technologies that can improve auto safety.
Figures from The World Health Organization show that between 2000 and 2050 the proportion of the world's population over 60 years will double from about 11 percent to 22 percent. The number of people aged 60 years and over is expected to increase from 605 million to 2 billion over the same period.
The Frost & Sullivan report notes that key markets for HWW technology are Japan, followed by Europe, South Korea and the United States. Japan will be a key market, the report indicates, because in 2025 Japan is expected to become the largest hyper-aged society, with nearly 30 percent of its population over the age of 65.
Auto OEMs intend to take advantage of these new trends.
“The car will act as a medium for increased health and wellness of occupants and drivers,” said Neelam Barua, Frost & Sullivan’s automotive and transportation industry analyst.
Barua noted that auto OEMs are working with their electronic suppliers on pilot projects to develop HWW applications under consortiums. He also said these projects rely on and learn from real world examples of consumer electronics adoption in the areas of wearables, smart watches, smart glasses etc.
“For example, automaker Ford is working with Medtronic on a device which communicates through Bluetooth and can be paired with Ford Sync, giving drivers the ability to check their status with the press of a button and a simple series of voice commands,” Barua said.
As car manufacturers devise strategies to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive market, the electronics industry can expect future cars in which passengers can use technology that is either built into the vehicle, brought into the vehicle or accessed through the use of cloud-enabled technology that provides individuals the opportunity to upload data from their health monitoring systems to cloud platforms that can be access by a clinician. These technologies will be offered as standard, optional or advanced features.
The report also notes that among the electronics companies best positioned to sell their products to support HWW technologies in cars are Bosch of Germany, which is a leading supplier of automotive microelectromechanical system (MEMS) sensors, chip suppliers including Qualcomm and ST Microelectronics, health care companies like Medtronic, wearables makers including Nike, FitBit, Apple and Google, as well as telecom service providers like AT&T and Verizon.
A targeted approach to integrating HWW technologies in cars will require a close collaboration between auto OEMs and their technology suppliers, said Vishwas Shankar, Frost & Sullivan’s automotive and transportation program manager.
“Moving forward I imagine we will see better coordination between different stakeholders, as there will be more of a collaborative partner type relationship between the OEM and component manufacturer,” Shankar said. “The reason for this is that OEMs will be increasingly reliant upon outside design partners to help them develop new functionalities for their devices that currently are outside of their core competencies.”