Everyone wants to be mobile and independent. Cars are great tools for that, but some people encounter some challenges when they are trying to drive. For example, deaf people are dependent mainly on their sight and touch senses, which does deprive them of hearing some crucial signals. Now Hyundai Motor Group has revealed a new innovative technology that assists hearing-impaired drivers.
Vehicle horns were created for a reason. They allow other drivers to warn us about our own mistakes, possible obstacles or sudden changes in traffic situation. You may also be listening to your own car and even pedestrians yelling things at you. However, hearing-impaired drivers do not get this information and have to depend on other feelings. This could mean that they do not feel as safe on the road as they otherwise would. In fact, this could be damaging their confidence as well. Now Hyundai developed a way to inform hearing-impaired drivers about these audible signals through tactile and visual means.
As everything these days, this technology employs artificial intelligence. It analyses the external sound patterns and uses the Audio-Visual Conversion and Audio-Tactile Conversion technologies to alert the driver. Typically, hearing-impaired people have acute, highly developed vision and sense of touch, which could be utilized to create a better sense of traffic situation around them. Audio-Visual Conversion listens to sound patterns around the car, recognizes them and displays them on the head-up display. For example, it could alert the driver about the emergency vehicle coming. Steering wheel also has multi-coloured LEDs which provide navigational information while driving.
Meanwhile Audio-Tactile Conversion transforms the sound into vibrations of the steering wheel. This could inform drivers about the distance to obstacles. In general, these technologies should enhance the driving experience as well as safety. Hearing-impaired people will not have to constantly look at the Satnav screen for directions – they will be given through the steering wheel LEDs as well as head-up display. They will also avoid constantly looking for emergency vehicles or even accidentally getting in their way. Finally, a horn symbol will appear on the head-up display once someone tries to alert the driver about something.
These systems could enhance safety and confidence of hearing-impaired drivers. They do require microphones, but the majority of their mechanism is in software. It means that it could be introduced into market very quickly.