Jaguar Land Rover has developed a technology that could help the cars of the future to fight superbugs.
The company worked on further refining innovative ultraviolet light technology (UV-C) that it borrowed from the medical industry. This kind of light technology has been used for over 70 years to spread of colds and flu.
Jaguar Land Rover believes that by integrating UV-C, the technology could stop bacteria and harmful viruses, which are known as pathogens, from surviving in the cabin. Currently, UV-C is used on a widespread basis for disinfecting water, filtering air and sterilising surfaces by using wavelengths of light between 200 – 280 nanometres.
When disease causing pathogens are exposed to UV-C within the air conditioning system, it breaks down the molecular structure of their DNA, thus neutralizing them. Clean air is then released into the cabin. The technology might even be possibly used in the fight against drug-resistant superbugs.
Jaguar Land Rover is exploring the use of this UV-C technology as part of its drive to create a tranquil sanctuary inside each of its luxury vehicles. In the runup to the development of autonomous vehicles in the future, the automotive manufacturer is working on the development of a wide range of driver and passenger wellbeing features.
According to Dr Steve Iley, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Medical Officer, the average motorist spends as many as 300 hours on an annual basis behind the wheel of his vehicle. Thus, there is immense scope for cars to play a part in administering preventative healthcare.
“The implementation of individual wellbeing measures as part of our ‘tranquil sanctuary’ research promises to not only improve quality of life for our customers but in this case, offers clear advantages in reducing pathogen spread – protecting the overall population from the threat of disease; particularly as we move towards shared mobility solutions.”
Jaguar Land Rover is already actively seeking to neutralise pathogens in its latest generation Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, available across the range including the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE and Range Rover Sport. The current Four-zone Climate Control and Cabin Air Ionisation system works by using high voltage to create trillions of nano-sized negatively charged particles (ions) coated in water molecules. These ions deactivate pathogens, forming larger particles which are removed from the air as they are brought back into the filter. As well as combatting pathogens, the ions also act upon odour molecules and allergens in a similar way.
Dr Iley said that infections spread more quickly in the colder months. Hence, customers would be gratified to learn that harmful pathogens are being neutralized at least in their cars.
Recent medical trials have indicated that the use of UV-C could help cut the transmission of four major superbugs by up to 30 percent. Researchers focused on four drug-resistant organisms: MRSA, vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), C. difficile and Acinetobacter.
Immunology expert, Dr. Hellmut Münch, CEO at Medical Enzyme Research Association, said one of the largest threats that the human species faces at the moment is the rise of superbugs and allergens. Hence, it is vital to invest in immunology to ensure that our immune systems are one step ahead of microorganisms, which are evolving at a quicker pace than the advances made by the traditional pharmaceutical industry. We need to look at more innovative approaches to help prevent the spread of the most harmful pathogens.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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