If it detects there's something amiss with the driver's health, the car can give a warning or even make an emergency phone call. Picture: SUPPLIED
If it detects there's something amiss with the driver's health, the car can give a warning or even make an emergency phone call. Picture: SUPPLIED

Volvo is looking to fit optional cameras in its cars that can monitor the health of drivers while they are behind the wheel, and ideally predict health emergencies before they happen.

The cameras are able to monitor biometrics — for instance checking a driver’s glucose levels via pupil scans; and the car could warn the driver or automatically phone a family member or the hospital if the cameras detect a health problem.

The high-tech cameras can also detect stress levels and work with the vehicle to switch on various settings for drivers to relax them as they drive. The next-level technology follows on from the drowsiness monitors that are already in use by several car brands, including Volvo.

The Swedish carmaker says in-cameras will open up a raft of new technology benefits, though it recognises consumer fears over privacy. Atif Rafiq, Volvo’s chief digital officer, says the Volvo in-car cameras will be offered only as optional fitment as from 2020.

Volvo says it has been testing the in-car cameras since 2017 as part of its autonomous-car research. As self-driving technology gets ever better, the cameras could in future be used to operate video conferencing for passengers, or identify drivers and automatically set their favoured climate control settings and preferred radio station.