Cars of the future may have to be redesigned to accommodate the obesity epidemic, according to the resident “futurologist” at Ford, the US car giant.
Sheryl Connelly, who works in Ford’s “global consumer trends and futuring” department in Detroit, helping the company to adapt to big consumer changes, said the industry needs to prepare for humans growing in size.
“We need to look at the human profile if the obesity epidemic continues. When you have these physiological changes you can get reduced response times,” she said.
As people become larger and heavier, they could also become slower to react to situations on the road. This could mean driving becoming more dangerous unless car manufacturers adapt, possibly by introducing better safety features or speeding up the development of driverless cars that put computers in control and take the the steering wheel out of human hands.
Mrs Connelly said that even something as mundane as reversing a car could be affected. “Obesity could mean not being able to turn your head or look over your shoulder,” she said.