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Noise and vibration: Once unwanted in cars, now helping deaf

  • True ‘freedom of mobility’ for hearing-impaired drivers
  • Campaign video illustrates possibilities for taxi staff
  • Hearing-impaired can interact with external environment
HYUNDAI HELPING HARD OF HEARING: Image: Hyundai Seoul
HYUNDAI HELPING HARD OF HEARING:  Hard-of-hearing taxi drivers line up to test the new sight and vibration communication system. Image: Hyundai Seoul

SEOUL, South Korea – Hyundai has revealed innovative technology to help deaf or partially-deaf drivers who would otherwise have to depend on sight and touch.

It’s a method of communication that uses internal and external sounds through touch and sight to give mobility to all drivers despite any physical limitation.

The technology analyses  external sound patterns and employs two driving assistance programs – assist audio-visual and audio-touch – to work with the human’s sense of touch and vision.

HYUNDAI HELPING HARD OF HEARING: Image: Hyundai Seoul
HYUNDAI HELPING HARD OF HEARING: Sound, light and steering-wheel vibration get the messages across. Image: Hyundai Seoul

Communication comes through visual portrayals of sound patterns – such as emergency vehicles -using pictograms on the head-up display. Also, the steering-wheel has multi-colour diode lights to indicate navigation turns.

The ATC transfers the sound data into a pattern of steering-wheel vibrations to tell the driver about external situations such as distance from an obstacle.

READ MORE Hyundai features on Carman’s Corner

Hyundai showed the tech with a campaign video, ‘Quiet Taxi’, that, the automaker says, ”aspires to give hope to drivers with impaired hearing”.

Daeho Lee, Seoul’s first legal hearing-impaired taxi driver, was chosen to show off the systems. He had relied mainly on eyesight but problems arose because he could not hear warnings from other vehicles – or an emergency siren.

HYUNDAI HELPING HARD OF HEARING: Image: Hyundai Seoul
HYUNDAI HELPING HARD OF HEARING: Red…. well, it’s obviously to warn of an impending hazard – but the little trumpet indicates that a driver is blowing a vehicle’s horn. Image: Hyundai Seoul

The increased use of sight caused fatigue much faster than that of a normal driver.

There’s also an application to allow communication between driver and passenger(s) and the entire process of the ‘Quiet Taxi’ was filmed in this documentary video.

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