Hyundai has brought a number of high-tech concepts to this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, including a fleet of self-driving cars that will be plying the public roads around the show's many convention buildings.
Self-driving Ioniq Electric
The autonomous Ioniq models include Lidar sensors, which are hidden behind the front bumpers rather than mounted on the roof. In self-driving mode, the Ioniq test vehicles use information from these Lidar units, as well as sensors that are part of safety systems which are already publicly available.
These include the smart cruise control's forward-facing radar, the rear-facing radar from the blind spot monitoring setup, and the cameras from the lane keeping assistance system. The self-driving software also uses GPS for accurate positioning, and highly detailed maps that include lane widths and topography.
According to Hyundai, its autonomous Ioniq models are able to successfully 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 that 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".
At Hyundai's booth on the show floor, the company will be demonstrating its autonomous driving technology via virtual reality simulators.
Health and connectivity
Also on display via virtual reality at Hyundai's booth are concepts for future car interiors that are not only "hyper-connected", but which also actively work to ensure the driver's health and wellbeing.
The ‘Health + Mobility Cockpit’ concept keeps tabs on the state of the driver by using eye tracking to gauge alertness, and facial recognition to determine their emotional state, as well as monitoring breathing rate and depth, and heart rate.
If the driver is agitated, the system could add the scent of lavender or eucalyptus to the air to calm things down a notch. Alternatively, it could make the driver's seat a little more upright if focus is waning, or engage the seat massage system when stress levels are high.
The system can also alter the ambient lighting, and climate control settings to make the driver more alert or a tad calmer.
At the show, Hyundai also announced a partnership with networking and security company Cisco. The two partners will work together on a software platform that will allow the automaker's cars to communicate with road infrastructure, other vehicles, internet of things devices, and cloud services.
This will allegedly allow future Hyundai vehicles to have any operational issues diagnosed and, potentially, fixed remotely. These vehicles can also participate and benefit from real-time traffic systems.
The company unveiled two medical and assistive exoskeleton designs at CES 2017. H-MEX (Hyundai Medical EXoskeleton) features a wireless clutch and an on-board 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 40kg of the wearer's weight, and can help them to walk, run, and navigate stairs. According to Hyundai, unburdened, HUMA can run at up to 12km/h.
Hyundai also revealed H-WEX (Hyundai Waist EXoskeleton) that has been designed to provide extra support for the upper-body and hip regions, and can help to reduce or prevent back injuries for people lifting heavy items or who need to perform repetitive manual tasks.
The final piece revealed by Hyundai at CES 2017 was the Ioniq Scooter, which folds up, and is stored and charged within the door panel of the Ioniq Electric.
There's a thumb switch that can be used to control acceleration and braking. A pressure pad above the rear wheel provides a second method for slowing the scooter down. Although we don't know the scooter's top speed or range, we're informed that it's equipped with front and rear lights.