This technology promises true freedom of mobility.
We may not give it much thought but we rely heavily on our sense of hearing when driving a car. Hearing-impaired drivers depend mainly on their sight and touch senses to compensate but not being able to hear the horns or sirens of vehicles out of visual range can be a problem.
Hyundai Motor Group has been hard at work on a number of technological innovations recently and it has now also developed a technology to help overcome these hearing limitations. The system uses artificial intelligence to analyze external sound patterns which it then relays to the driver through various visual means.
Essentially, the technology employs two separate driving assist systems, the Audio-Visual Conversion (AVC) and Audio-Tactile Conversion (ATC) that work together to aid hearing-impaired drivers who have an acute, highly developed sense of touch and attuned visual capabilities.
The AVC visually portrays sound patterns as pictograms on a head-up display while the steering wheel is also equipped with multi-colored LEDs which inform the driver of navigational information while on the move. This system will allow the driver to keep their eyes on the road instead of having to scan the surrounds for any potential dangers.
The ATC meanwhile converts sound data into vibrations in the steering wheel that can notify the driver of various external factors such as the distance from obstacles. To showcase the functionality of the system Hyundai has released a video called 'Quiet Taxi' which shows a hearing-impaired taxi driver negotiating city streets using the ATC and AVC systems.
Hyundai has also developed an application that enables more effective communication between passengers and hearing-impaired drivers. Hopefully, this useful tech will be made available in future Hyundai models and spread to the rest of the motor industry in due course.