Nissan has pioneered ‘state-of-the-art’ sweat-sensing car seats with the potential to prevent car crashes.
Aptly named SOAK, the new technology coating changes colour when it comes into contact with sweat.
The material will turn yellow if the sweat has a high salt content, signalling that the driver is dehydrated. It will revert back to blue once the salt concentration of the sweat is back to normal.
The material can also be applied to the steering wheel.
Loughborough University carried out research on the effects of dehydration on drivers and found those who are dehydrated make just as many mistakes behind the wheel as drunk-drivers.
Ron Maughan, professor of sport and exercise nutrition at Loughborough University, said: “To put our results into perspective, the levels of driver errors we found are of a similar magnitude to those found in people with a blood alcohol content of 0.08%, the current UK legal driving limit.
“In other words drivers who are not properly hydrated make the same number of errors as people who are over the drink drive limit.”
Nissan adopted the slogan ‘hit the bottle’ to raise awareness about the dangers of not staying hydrated on the roads.
The car company teamed up with Droog, a Dutch design brand, to test the technology on the Nissan Juke crossover.
Nissan said: ”Applying it to the Juke’s steering wheel and front seats, the result is a simple yet effective alert system to warn drivers that they need to drink more water."
Paulien Routs is a designer for Droog and the mastermind behind the new technology.
He said: “I originally created SOAK to be used on sports clothing. My vision is to create innovative solutions that aid the wearer in some way, using new technologies to bring function to fashion and textiles, as well as establishing new ways of interacting with our health and bodies.”
Nissan has said they do not have plans to roll out the technology into Juke models.
The new development was a means of Nissan demonstrating its approach to innovation and pioneering safety technology.
The Juke already features many advanced Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies. These include Intelligent Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection, Blind Spot Warning and Lane Departure Warning.