Andy Sharman:

Ford has quietly abandoned a project to develop driving seats that can detect heart attacks, blaming cheaper and more accurate wearable technology on a move that underlines the rapid pace of innovation carmakers need to maintain in the era of the connected car.

The US carmaker and its rivals are jostling to be seen as leaders in new car technologies. Ford, which opened an expanded research office in Silicon Valley this year and is looking into developments such as car-sharing, recently launched a people carrier that can read speed limit signs and adjust the throttle accordingly.

The wider motor industry is fighting to keep up with demands from consumers for greater connectivity inside the vehicle while heading off the threat posed by new entrants such as Tesla, Google and, potentially, Apple.