The cabin of today’s cars is undergoing various changes. This is because the cabin has become more important as the drivetrain has shifted from internal combustion engines to batteries and electric motors, and people spend more time in their cars. And this change will be even steeper in the era of autonomous driving. Automakers now have to answer the question, ‘What are we going to do in the car?’
The autonomous driving integrated cockpit system M.VICS is Hyundai Mobis’ answer to these questions. They are presenting a space where you can safely enjoy content and take care of your health. The technologies applied to M.VICS are largely divided into two categories – one for safe content viewing and the other for the health of passengers.
Let’s take a look at the technology for content first. The most eye-catching part is also the central display. It features 12.3-inch and 13.2-inch displays attached up and down, and a circular slide knob at the bottom. It allows you to operate functions such as air conditioning and media by sliding the knob left and right. This shows that the automaker applied not only cutting-edge technology but also considered safe usage.
For reference, in cabins of recent automobiles, control units related to air conditioning and media are gradually decreasing. Since most functions can be operated through the large touch display, the control panel size is reduced or eliminated altogether. However, it is difficult for the driver to handle the touch display while keeping an eye on the front. This is why Hyundai Mobis housed a circular slide knob that can move left and right conveniently and intuitively. In particular, the circular slide knob is integrated with the air conditioning vent and central display, so it takes up little space and is easy to use.
Another feature of the M.VICS central display is that it can be shared with a passenger. Passengers can also enjoy media by moving the upper 12.3-inch display in front of the passenger seat and connecting a smartphone. At this time, the three center speakers also switch to passenger mode. The left speaker faces the driver, and the other two speakers go inside. And the headrest speakers add power to deliver a clearer sound. This allows drivers and passengers to enjoy different content when they need to spend time in the car – while charging the battery, for example.
In addition, there are various technologies for the health of occupants. M.VICS housed the ‘smart cabin controller’ developed by Hyundai Mobis for the first time in the world. The smart cabin controller is an integrated controller that professionally analyzes the occupant’s posture, heart rate, and biosignals such as brain waves. It then reads the occupant’s health condition, and responds appropriately to it to help comfortable autonomous driving.
In fact, a technology that reads the health status of occupants, likeSmart Cabin Controller, is necessary to advance the era of fully autonomous driving. With the advent of the autonomous driving era, even in emergency situations where the driver or occupant loses consciousness, the car can drive itself toward its destination. If the car recognizes this situation, it can send a signal to emergency medical service and transport the patient directly to the hospital. Here’s an explanation of how Hyundai Mobis’ Smart Cabin Controller works.
Hyundai Mobis’ Smart Cabin Controller consists of a sensor that measures the occupant’s bio-signals, a signal analysis controller, and software logic. The sensor consists of a total of four sensors: a 3D camera that takes a three-dimensional image of the occupant’s posture, an electrocardiogram sensor on the steering wheel, an earphone sensor that measures brain waves flowing around the ears, and an air conditioning sensor that measures temperature and humidity and carbon dioxide levels inside the vehicle. And the occupant’s bio-signals collected by these are transmitted to the controller.
The controller analyzes various bio-signals in real time and warns the driver through navigation, instrument panel, or Head-Up Display (HUD) when it determines that the occupant is in poor health or a dangerous situation such as drowsy driving. In addition, when the controller detects that the driver’s stress index is high through the ECG sensor, it recommends switching to autonomous driving mode, and opens the window when the carbon dioxide level is high. Sometimes this will put the air conditioner into fresh air mode.
Not only that, Smart Cabin is also equipped with a function to reduce motion sickness for passengers. LEDs on both sides of the seat help to recognize the direction and speed, such as left and right turns, thereby reducing motion sickness. Motion sickness occurs when you do not recognize the direction and speed of a vehicle.
The possibilities of the smart cabin controller are endless. This is a kind of advanced brain that can expertly analyze biosignals that change in real time. Techniques for judging a passenger’s condition based on signals such as heartbeat, brain waves, and images are continuously evolving. By analyzing the occupant’s biometric data, it will be possible to determine the driving ability and health status, making it possible to detect abnormal symptoms or inability to drive. By using this, it would be possible to provide safety services such as identifying the status of passengers in case of an emergency while traveling and taking follow-up measures such as autonomous driving to transport patients after an emergency report.
It will also be possible to detect if the driver is intoxicated and block the driver from driving. Hyundai Mobis’ breathalyzer technology is a non-contact type that can measure just by exhaling a little. It uses optical sensor technology to detect the alcohol content in the driver’s breath to determine the blood alcohol level. This technology is much more accurate and convenient than electrochemical sensors that require mouth-to-mouth blowing. The technology is expected to be housed in commercial vehicles first. The US is in the process of promoting related technology legislation, and it is also being strengthened in Korea.
Hyundai Mobis’ Smart Cabin Controller is an example of changing the perspective of safety technology to focus on the occupants rather than improving vehicle performance. The same is true of ‘M.Brain,’ an EEG-based driver monitoring system developed by Hyundai Mobis for the first time in the world last year. M.Brain has already verified the effect of reducing accidents through public bus pilot projects.
What will the car cabin of the future where autonomous driving is common? According to Hyundai Mobis, the car of the future is expected to function as a mobile ‘health checkup center’. Therefore, Hyundai Mobis is continuing its research by securing professional manpower such as bioengineering and robots. The smart cabin controller is the result of these various studies. In the mobility field, there were controllers that only process specific biosignals, but Hyundai Mobis was the first to develop a health care controller that detects and analyzes multiple biosignals in real time.
So, how will smart cabin controllers develop in the future? Hyundai Mobis plans to develop it into a more advanced technology by fusion with current sensing technology. For example, the combination of image and EEG-based safety management technologies leads to the subdivision of sensing technology. Cars of the future will be able to read the tastes and conditions of passengers and provide customized services accordingly. This means that the speed can be adjusted according to the occupant’s condition, and the environment can be adapted for learning or relaxation according to the occupant’s behavior.
Imagine a car that reads and responds to the mind and conditions that the occupants cannot even understand on their own. You can imagine a car taking care of sleeping passengers during autonomous driving. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a car that comfortably adjusts the interior temperature for sleeping occupants, plays music to calm them down when they have nightmares, and checks their sleeping habits when they arrive at their destination? Things that could only be seen in movies are coming to reality. Many people are looking forward to what other technologies Hyundai Mobis will introduce next.