Hyundai Motor Group has revealed that it has developed innovative technology to help drivers who are hearing-impaired. The technology does this by replacing sounds with visual or touch-based cues, and then it uses advanced sensor and artificial intelligence technology to interpret and thus ‘hear’ the traffic around them.
The technology comprises two separate driving assist systems which work in tandem named the Audio-Visual Conversion (AVC) and Audio-Tactile Conversion (ATC) systems. They leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze sound patterns heard outside the car. They then use vibrations of the steering wheel and pictograms displayed through the head-up display (HUD) to alert the driver and explain to the motorist what it has learned through the sounds the system can hear. The steering wheel also comes with multi-colored LEDs which provide navigational information while driving.
One example is the ability of the technology to alert the driver of emergency vehicles by recognizing the sound of a siren. It then vibrates the wheel as an alert and displays the appropriate pictogram on the HUD. It also interprets data from vehicle sensors – as in the case when the vehicle is reversing – so that the driver knows how far the car is from obstacles without depending on the warning alarm.
Hyundai demonstrated the technology in a campaign video named “Quiet Taxi”. The campaign video, as well as the technology itself, highlights the importance of ‘freedom of mobility,’ attesting to Hyundai’s efforts to make it easier for the hearing-impaired to drive freely and safely using state-of-the-art innovative developments. As part of its goal, Hyundai has also developed an application that facilitates communication between passengers and drivers who are hearing-impaired.
The documentary follows Daeho Lee, Seoul’s first ever designated hearing-impaired taxi driver, as he uses the driving assist technology.
Lee is a father of two children who recently took on a new job as a taxi driver, had difficulties with hearing and had to depend primarily on his sight. This caused issues with other drivers when he was unable to hear the horns or sirens of surrounding vehicles. He also needed to constantly rely on his vision, which caused fatigue at a rate many times that of the average driver.
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