Technology developed by Hyundai is helping hearing-impaired drivers who mainly depend on their senses of sight and touch.
The system uses artificial intelligence to analyze external sound patterns and has two separate driving-assist systems that work simultaneously: audio-visual conversion (AVC) and audio-tactile conversion (ATC).
The AVC allows “communication with the external environment through visual portrayals of sound patterns, such as warning sounds of emergency vehicles, as pictograms on the head-up display,” Hyundai says in a news release.
The steering wheel is equipped with multicolored LEDs that help drivers navigate.
“The ATC transfers the sound data into vibrations through the steering wheel, giving the driver information about external conditions such as distance from obstacles,” Hyundai says.
Hyundai demonstrated the technology with a video called “Quiet Taxi” illustrating the possibilities for automobiles to help hearing-impaired drivers interact with their external environment.
After an open invitation, stories were sent in by people from throughout South Korea, and Hyundai chose Daeho Lee, Seoul’s first designated hearing-impaired taxi driver, to demonstrate the driving-assist technology.
Lee had difficulties with hearing and had to rely mainly on his sight. “Problems arose with other drivers when he could not hear the horns or sirens of surrounding vehicles,” Hyundai says. His need to constantly rely on his vision caused fatigue at a rate many times that of the average driver.
The automaker has created a video it says emphasizes the value of freedom of mobility for Lee using the new technology.
Hyundai also has developed an application that allows communication between passengers and drivers who are hearing-impaired.