“Freedom of mobility to all drivers regardless of their physical limitations” is what the Hyundai Motor Company is promising with new technology it recently unveiled aimed at assisting hearing-impaired drivers. Relying on AI (artificial intelligence), the technology is featured in a documentary called “Quiet Taxi” that HMC produced to “give hope to drivers with impaired hearing.”
HMC’s technology entails the use of AI to analyse external sound patterns, as well as two driving-assist systems that work together to “help hearing-impaired drivers who have an acute, highly developed sense of touch and attuned visual capabilities.”
The AVC (Audio-Visual Conversion) system visually portrays emergency vehicle sirens and other external sound patterns to drivers as “pictograms” on a HUD (head-up display). Further, the steering wheel integrates multi-coloured LEDs that indicate navigational information. An ATC (Audio-Tactile Conversion) system, meanwhile, translates the sound data into vibrations felt in the steering wheel to denote such driving-related data as the vehicle’s distance from obstacles.
Taxi Cab Driver
To demonstrate its technology, HMG sent out an open invitation across South Korea, ultimately choosing Daeho Lee as “Seoul’s first ever designated hearing-impaired taxi driver” to showcase the technology. Lee’s hearing difficulties, HMG says, left him relying primarily on his sight, which created problems related to him not hearing surrounding vehicles’ horns or sirens. Lee’s constant reliance on his vision also caused greater fatigue vs. the average driver, HMG says. HMG has also developed an application that enables hearing-impaired drivers to communicate with passengers.