A Hyundai self driving car was on display at CES 2017. But that was far from all the company had to offer to the tech savvy visitors at this year’s electronics show. It also presented a concept of how the connected car of the future might look and feel, as well as a trio of self powered exoskeletons to help people with disabilities. But the one item that generated the most buzz was a small, folding electric scooter designed to solve the “last mile” dilemma that most commuters face.
The Hyundai self driving car
Hyundai brought a fleet of autonomous Ioniq sedans for people to test drive outside the show. The cars have a full complement of sensors, including Lidar units installed behind the front bumpers rather than mounted on the roof. There is also a forward facing radar and a rear facing radar for blind spot detection. An array of cameras also supplies input to the car’s self driving computer. The software uses input from GPS for accurate positioning and highly detailed maps that include lane widths and topography.
According to Hyundai, its autonomous Ioniq models are able to drive on roads with traffic lights, road blocks and construction, speed humps, intersections with Stop and Yield signs, and which feature pets, small children, and “high levels of pedestrian traffic”. The company says it is refining its self driving technology “with the goal of using less computing power, resulting in a low cost platform that the typical consumer can afford.”
Hyundai connected car concept
Connectivity is a concept that most auto makers are focusing on. Hyundai’s vision of the future features what it calls “hyper-connectivity” so that drivers and passengers can remain in constant touch with the digital world. Hyundai has formed a partnership with networking powerhouse Cisco System. Together, they will work on a software platform that allows the cars to communicate with road infrastructure, other vehicles, internet of things devices, and cloud services.
One benefit of the platform is that it will allow future Hyundai vehicles to have any operational issues diagnosed and repaired remotely. The system will also interface with real time traffic systems to determine the fastest route to a destination and avoid congestion.
The Hyundai Health + Mobility Cockpit
The ‘Health + Mobility Cockpit’ concept keeps tabs on the driver It uses cameras to track eye movements to determine if the driver is alert. If the driver’s attention appears to be wandering, the system can alter the climate control settings, change the angle of the seat back, or alter interior light settings to increase alertness. Hyundai doesn’t say so explicitly, but such a system could also determine if a driver is drunk or otherwise impaired and bring the car to a halt safely.
Facial recognition is used to monitor the driver’s breathing rate, depth of breathing, and heart rate. If the driver appears agitated, the system can add the scent of lavender or eucalyptus to the air to calm things down a bit. It can also turn on the seat massage system if high stress levels are detected.
Hyundai unveiled three exoskeleton designs at CES 2017. H-MEX, or Hyundai Medical EXoskeleton, features a wireless clutch and an onboard motion control system that allows paraplegic patients with lower spinal cord injuries to sit, stand, walk, and climb or descend stairs.
HUMA, or Hyundai Universal Medical Assist, provides support and assistive torque for people with limited muscle power. It can bear up to 90 lbs of weight and helps the wearer to walk, run, and navigate stairs. According to Hyundai, HUMA can run at speeds up to 7 miles per hour when not supporting a person.
Hyundai also revealed H-WEX, Hyundai Waist EXoskeleton. It is designed to provide extra support for the upper body and hip regions. It can help reduce or prevent back injuries for people lifting heavy items or assist those who need to perform repetitive manual tasks.
Hyundai Ioniq Scooter
The surprise hit of the Hyundai exhibit at CES 2017 was the Ioniq Scooter. It folds up so it can be easily carried and is stored and charged within the door panel of the Ioniq Electric car that will be on sale in America later this year. The Scooter is simplicity itself. A thumb switch controls acceleration and braking. A pressure pad above the rear wheel provides a second method for slowing down. It also has a digital dashboard that displays speed, battery life, and range.
Hyundai offered few details about the Scooter except to say it comes with front and rear lighting. Prices and availability were not announced.