Hyundai’s AI-controlled mini-car is just awesome (video)

Hyundai presented its smallest electric car to date in October and now shows what the tiny thing can really do. The AI-supported children’s EV is currently doing rounds at a hospital in Barcelona and is working what looks like magic.

Hyundai first showed the mini electric car alongside its concept car 45. Back at the debut in October, the South Korean company would not say what they were to use it for. Hyundai has given it has a top “speed” of 7 kph. Now a new video shines a light on the little car’s journey and follows the car and a little patient around for a day.

The film is set at the SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital in Spain as part of the ‘Little Big e-Motion’ project. The 6-minute video shows how the minicar uses Emotion Adaptive Vehicle Control (EAVC) technology to support young patients. EAVC is based on artificial intelligence that includes data from inside and outside the vehicle.

In this case, it enables the car to monitor facial expressions, heart rate and respiratory rate and combine these readings with input from the vehicle, including speed, acceleration, noise and vibration. In short, the car reacts to its little drivers and optimises their ride also by adjusting lighting, climate, music and fragrance. Hyundai calls these technologies “Emotion Adaptive Lighting, and Emotion Adaptive Scent Dispenser” and there is also a breathing exercise the car can administer. Explains Hyundai: “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 idea followed a research collaboration with the MIT Media Lab to support the treatment of young patients at hospitals. In Barcelona, the nurses and doctors use it to help the sick children from the hospital bed to the treatment room, which is considered one of the most stressful trips for the children.

In the video, we follow a young patient through her day and see how the car eases her anxiety and helps to prepare her for treatment emotionally, while also sending status reports to the doctors. And that is not all the car can do – the vehicle also blows bubbles to celebrate the child’s progress toward treatment, as Hyundai explains.

Needless to say that the staff is also delighted. Joan Sanchez de Toledo, Head of Pediatrics at SJD hospital says: “The hospital is very excited to have such technology available for kids. This will dramatically change the way patients will face treatment.”

Hyundai Motor says it plans to continue the ‘Little Big e-Motion’ project in Barcelona, while also fine-tuning its EAVC technology to be used in other applications.


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