Researchers develop AI-powered radar to monitor drivers' health

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

A research team from the University of Waterloo is using radar technology to monitor people’s health while at the wheel, turning the ordinary car or truck into a mobile, medical hub.

Dr. George Shaker, an adjunct professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo, and Ali Gharamohammadi, the lead PhD student on the project, have integrated radar with evolving vehicle technology to make health checks easier—without the need for any type of wearable.

The radar, smaller than a USB thumb drive, is integrated into the vehicle cabin and sends out signals that detect human vibrations, which are then sent back to the radar. The technology can detect tiny movements like the rise and fall of a chest from breathing or heartbeats. 

The built-in AI system collects and analyzes the data to build a medical picture and identify any potential conditions. At the end of the driver’s commute, the system sends the report directly to their cell phone for review.

“This radar technology is not new,” Shaker said. “Our first demos using radars for in-cabin sensing were developed back in 2017 for infotainment touchless control and to alert people to children and pets left alone in parked vehicles. This application, using the technology to monitor vehicle occupants’ health, is a step towards achieving our vision of cars as medical hubs of the future."

Go to Is Star Trek's medical bay coming to your car? for the full story.