This article was written by Bang Sun Jeong, VP / Head of Hyundai Middle East and Africa HQ

When we think about the future of automotive, vehicles equipped with health care systems, is not the first thing that springs to mind.  

Hyundai Vice President of Middle East and Africa Bang Sun Jeong
Hyundai Vice President of Middle East and Africa Bang Sun Jeong

It is understandable given that driverless cars, shared mobility, and electrification have been widely talked about in recent times and will change the way we travel in a few years.

The revolution of technology is not just transforming the way cars are being manufactured and driven but also how they operate and what it offers.

What if these vehicles instal the necessary tools that can essentially read the mind of the driver and detect health warnings such as drowsiness? In other words, a car that tracks the driver’s condition and capable of responding to an emergency.

In this day and age, the car that we drive daily is not a medical asset as it will not know your medical condition – like if you are feeling drowsy or suffering from stress. But that is almost certain to change and will soon become a reality because of the ongoing evolution of technology.

Investing in technology that monitors the driver’s health can benefit both the automotive and healthcare industries. With careful planning and collaboration with other organisations, vehicles integrated with healthcare systems could help reduce the number of road fatalities. The system should be able to recognise the driver’s health status and connect it to the vehicle system to induce safe driving.

With the rapid wave of changes across the automobile industry, Hyundai Motor Group is working on welcoming these innovative technologies to match the vehicles that we are manufacturing.

Hyundai is already working with global ICT companies by investing in startups to promote the development of connected technology and innovation. It includes investing in the face recognition Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup Deep Glint which will recognise faces in 3D. This will be key to identifying the driver’s face and status inside vehicles.

We are also working on developing other aspects such as the collection of bio-information through non-contact and contact sensors, which can help detect driver movements and any levels of fatigue or undesirable driving postures.

We have also developed a Driver State Monitoring (DSM) system that will help prevent road fatalities by signalling whether the driver is feeling drowsy. Other plans include a purpose-built vehicle which can self-drive and which can also be used as a mobile clinic.

Hyundai Motors already proposed a new concept mobility solution at this year’s CES which can be implemented in healthcare – the Purpose-Built Vehicle (PBV) and the Mobility Transfer Hub (Hub). The PBV is a self-driving ground mobility which can change into various shapes and can act as a ‘mobile clinic’. In the future, we might be able to receive emergency treatments in a mobile clinic, not in an ambulance with minimum equipment.

The base of such PBV is the Hub. Basically, the Hub will serve as an airport or terminal. It has a docking station which will be connected to the PBV, and upon connection can be used in many ways. As it is not fixed into a single form, it can be utilised as a regional hub general hospital depending on the need. The idea is still to be realised, but when the day comes, a new world will open up, where patients are treated in a moving vehicle free from time and space limitations.

There is still a long way to go before vehicles with connected health care systems hit the roads. Extensive work still needs to be undertaken. But this is another step forward and an opportunity that Hyundai is relishing.

People’s health and well-being is important, and vehicles with health systems should no longer be an option but a necessity that can help protect and enhance the quality of our lives. More importantly, it can be a game-changer for the industry.