What does Mobile EV Tune-up Technology mean in terms of driver experience?
Off the rack means that a certain item, usually a garment, is mass-produced at a factory with standardized dimensions and designs. Customized means an opposite approach. In that sense, most vehicles are purchased off the rack. We choose among the predetermined sizes and designs, models, colors and trim options.
So the question is, how can we achieve greater customization in vehicles, similar to tailored clothing? The Mobile EV Tune-up Technology that Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors are developing is a system that allows customization and control of EV functions and features by linking the EV with a smartphone. It is like tailoring an EV to the driver’s specific preferences.
What does Mobile EV Tune-up Technology mean in terms of driver experience? To find out, we visited the Hyundai and Kia Namyang R&D Center’s EV Control Research Lab and asked the engineers behind the Mobile EV Tune-up Technology.
Mobile EV Tune-up Technology
The R&D team behind the Mobile EV Tune-up Technology. From left to right: Lead Researcher Kim Seong-jae, Research Fellow Eo Jeong-su, Principal Researcher Yoon Dong-pil, Principal Researcher Kim Do-hee
Please introduce Mobile EV Tune-up Technology.
RF Eo Jeong-su: MEVTT is like a system that provides versatile control over a set range of EV functions and features via digital device, like a smartphone. Key control aspects in vehicle performance include maximum motor torque, (perceived) launch acceleration, (perceived) deceleration, regenerative braking quantity, HVAC energy, max speed cap, and responsiveness. The listed items all affect EV driving performance and electric energy usage.
Drive modes (eco, comfort, sports, etc.) featured in contemporary vehicles already offer a degree of customized performance. How is MEVTT different?
Lead Researcher Kim Seong-jae: It offers a much more precise level of customization than the preset drive modes. For example, most eco-mode presets alter the motor’s max torque setting, launch acceleration and deceleration for maximum energy saving, and pedal responsiveness becomes slurred. MEVTT allows the driver to delink and designate values independently.
The driver may wish to use max-torque and acceleration settings to eco-mode levels, but use a sport-mode deceleration setting, so acceleration is slower, and deceleration is relatively sensitive, helpful for novice drivers. What this means is that more seasoned drivers also have the option of using highly responsive driving settings.
A major merit of the MEVTT is that it can be controlled from a connected device, like a smartphone.
The team chose to control the EV Tune-up System through a separate external device, rather than via the dashboard cluster, AVN or other media systems on board. Can you walk us through how the team made that decision?
Lead Researcher Kim Song-jae: The idea of automobiles as objects of private ownership will diminish in the future. We are already seeing emerging services that offer mobility via rental or carsharing. Once MEVTT becomes mainstay in the industry, then mobility-consumers can use their smart devices to connect to their rental car or shared car and instantly personalize it for use. We saw that as a strength and recognized that linking up with an external device was the best option in pursuing our development goal.
What communication protocols does the smartphone use to link with the vehicle? Access to EV functionality will obviously demand robust security measures.
Lead Researcher Park Sang-kyu: We are developing connectivity for two different communication protocols, depending on vehicle options. If the vehicle supports telematics communication like BlueLink or UVO, the smartphone communicates with the telematics server to save user settings, which is then communicated to the vehicle’s telematics unit and implemented. If telematics communication is not available, the smartphone connects directly to the vehicle via Bluetooth communication to apply custom settings. In that case, user settings are communicated by the smartphone to the server and saved.
In terms of security, we are developing several different measures, including two-step verification via smartphone, OTA(Over The Air) authentication, and blockchain applications.
Factory settings offer a safety baseline; can arbitrary EV performance alteration with a smartphone raise safety risks?
Principal Researcher Yoon Dong-pil: from the very beginning, EV component and performance safety is taken into account for MEVTT development. For example, all driving-related settings are within the min-max values corresponding to sport-mode. Those values can be adjusted as relevant safety and legal regulations change. Other means of minimizing risks are also under review, including a feedback system that helps pre-assess changes in performance and efficiency when performance is adjusted.
MEVTT is a type of technology that the industry has not yet seen in terms of mass-production. Some drivers might need guidance to make the most of this system.
Principal Researcher Kim Do-hee: the smartphone app settings will include a ‘Recommended Mode’ in addition to the advanced options for performance. It is a preset mode that takes into consideration road conditions and the driver’s tendencies and designates values for each item. The driver can try the ‘Recommended Mode’ and experience the benefits of MEVTT, before optimizing settings for best personal driving experience.
What other benefits can MEVTT offer in addition to providing the driver with an optimized driving experience?
Principal Researcher Kim Do-hee: MEVTT provides detailed electric power usage calculations that reflect performance changes. The system can predict energy efficiency based on navigable path, update performance factors to offer optimized settings and recommended path. For example, the destination input by the driver may show that the EV’s remaining power storage as insufficient to reach the destination. MEVTT may adjust performance factors to allow for greater travel distance, assuring that the destination is reached.
How far along is development?
When can we expect mass production?
Research Fellow Eo Jeong-su: Last year, we successfully completed prototyping the Bluetooth-based control system for the controls, and even finished test driving it. We are currently looking into vehicles specialized in MEVTT, as well as high-performance fun-to-drive EV brackets to see if we can offer something there.
Automobiles are evolving from simple mechanical devices to smart devices. Once MEVTT enters mass-production in that climate, it will be much more than a convenience option. We believe it will lay the foundations to an EV service platform. We expect MEVTT to provide the grounds to develop more diverse business and service opportunities relevant to EV and help the industry flourish.