Two months ago, Hyundai Motor revealed its smallest ever model, a one-of-a-kind mini EV based on the ‘45’ concept car based on the ‘45’ EV concept that Hyundai displayed in 2019 at the Frankfurt Motorshow.
While it would be a wonderful Christmas present for little ones, the Korean carmaker has offered it to the SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital in Spain as part of the ‘Little Big e-Motion’ project. The mini EV is being used to support the mobility of young patients from hospital bed to treatment room, which is considered one of the most stressful trips for the children.
EAVC is an artificial intelligence-based technology that optimizes vehicle environment based on information from both inside and outside the vehicle. Hyundai Motor Group is leading the development of this next-generation technology, as part of an academic research collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab.
EAVC technology monitors facial expressions, heart rate and respiratory rate, and combines these readings with input from the vehicle including speed, acceleration, noise and vibration. The technology then processes the data utilizing machine learning to optimize the vehicle environment and actively controls vehicle systems such as lighting, climate, music and fragrance dispenser.
EVAC is at the heart of Hyundai’s ‘Little Big e-Motion’ project. Equipped with this technology, the mini EV – designed by the same team that oversaw the ‘45’ concept – can provide a fun, safe mobility experience for young patients and help improve their health outcomes.
“The hospital is very excited to have such a technology available for kids. This will dramatically change the way patients will face treatment,” said Joan Sanchez de Toledo, Head of Paediatric Cardiology Department at SJD Hospital.
The EAVC-equipped mini EV interacts with its young ‘driver’ through five key technologies: Facial Emotion Recognition System, Breathing Exercise Belt, Heart Rate Monitoring Sensor, Emotion Adaptive Lighting, and Emotion Adaptive Scent Dispenser.
The Facial Emotion Recognition System uses a camera in front of the seat to identify the child’s emotions in real-time. The Breathing Exercise Belt wraps around the body and its air pockets apply gentle pressure the help relieve anxiety and enable more stable breathing, while the accelerometer, the Heart Rate Monitoring Sensor, measures the heart rate and breathing rate.
The Emotion Adaptive Lighting displays green, yellow or red to show the child’s emotional state in colours. The Emotion Adaptive Scent Dispenser sprays fragrance timed with breathing to help put a smile on the faces of the young patients. The vehicle also blows bubbles to celebrate the child’s progress toward treatment.
In addition to providing emotional support for the young patients, EAVC also assists the work of the medical staff at the hospital by informing them about the emotional state of the young patients without in-person interactions, which is especially useful in the era of COVID-19.
Hyundai Motor plans to continue supporting the treatment of young patients at SJD hospital through the project, while also fine-tuning its EAVC technology through this application. The company hopes to expand the use of this next-generation technology in mobility devices in the future to enhance driver safety and well-being.