Hospitals can be a little bit scary for the young ones from time to time, but that’s what emotional support animals, or in this case, Hyundai’s emotional support cars are for.
South Korean automotive manufacturer Hyundai has donated AI-assisted self-driving mini cars to a children’s hospital in Barcelona as part of its “Little Big e-Motion” project, per a press release by the company. Stating that the journey from the hospital bed to the treatment room can be a nervous and anxious trip, the company is aiming to make things more fun for the children.
AI-assisted mini car
Hyundai Motor’s mini '45' EV is possibly the most advanced Power Wheel ever made thanks to the fact that it is armed with artificial intelligence. This AI support enables the car to get in touch with the kids’ well-being.
The mini car mimics Hyundai’s full-size "45" concept car and makes sure the little drivers can drive around without hurting themselves with a travel speed of up to approximately 4 mph (6.4 km/h).
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this mini concept car is the fact that it has, what Hyundai calls, Emotion Adaptive Vehicle Control (EAVC). This feature was created as an academic research collab with MIT’s Media Lab. It uses AI to monitor the child's emotions by analyzing their facial expressions, respiratory rate, and heart rate.
The press release states that the embedded camera records and analyzes the kid's face to find cues. There is also the Breathing Exercise Belt which uses air pockets to apply gentle pressure onto the kid's body to reduce anxiety and stabilize breathing.
According to the data it collects, AI changes the vehicle's lighting, music, and fragrance, and makes it an even better ride. The adults in the room are able to track these data through a tablet app as well.
Perhaps the best part of all, the car can also blow bubbles, which are mood boosters for not just children but everyone involved.
You can watch the video below to see Hyundai demonstrating how the mini 45 accompanies a patient: