If you want to see what will be in cars of the future, look at the patents automotive companies file. Hyundai has increased filing patents in the past few years. According to Thomson Reuters IP & Science, Hyundai was among the leaders in every category of patents, ranking No. 3 overall behind Toyota Motor Corp. and Robert Bosch GmbH. New Hyundai patents at the US Patent and Trademark Office show new kinds of safety technology to help distracted drivers, drowsy drivers and protect pedestrians.
We find it interesting that Hyundai has been marketing the fact that it will offer Android Auto and CarPlay through a software update on select 2015 Sonata and car models, while they have the technology to kill cellphone use while the driver is engaged in activities.
Patent 9,008,640 enables a system in the Hyundai to control mobile device functions and features which could cause distraction.
The system disables phone functions based on vehicle speed, time of day, importance of message, and other factors. It can affect phones in the driver’s seat or the whole car.
Cellular-signal-monitoring antennas are placed throughout the cabin. When an antenna detects a signal, the system can disable functions. In order to work the phone affected must have firmware that would accept the Hyundai system commands.
Patent 9,008,857 is a “system and method of detecting drowsy driving that includes a controller configured to calculate basic characteristics based on steering torque information and lateral displacement information for every first time and basic thresholds based on the basic characteristics for a second time.” This is similar to the Nissan drowsy driver detection system based on steering. Other driver alerts systems in the works use a 3D camera (Anti-Snoozer App), eye tracking, or sensors.
Hyundai patent 8,991,860 is an external airbag with a sensor that detects collision with a pedestrian. The air bag and sensor are mounted in a bumper together with an airbag module to absorb the impact.This is similar to the Google bursting marshmallow air bumper to protect pedestrians.
The good news that if and when this technology is deployed it will be safer to drive and safer for pedestrians.