Hyundai Develops a ‘Smart Air Purification' System That Uses a Laser-based Sensor to Monitor Air Quality

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【Summary】Hyundai Motor Group announced it developed an intelligent “Smart Air Purification” system that monitors interior air quality and automatically filters the air inside the vehicle's cabin using a laser-based sensor.

Eric Walz    Jun 21, 2019 5:00 PM PT
Hyundai Develops a ‘Smart Air Purification' System That Uses a Laser-based Sensor to Monitor Air Quality

As cars are become more high-tech, so are some of the systems designed to give vehicle occupants a higher level of comfort, convenience and entertainment options, including improving the vehicle's interior air quality when driving through congested cities.

Hyundai Motor Group announced it developed an intelligent "Smart Air Purification" system that monitors interior air quality and automatically filters the air inside the car. The system continually checks interior air quality until it achieves an what Hyundai calls "Excellent" status.

The system uses advanced filtering innovations to automatically remove fine particulates before passengers enter the car, and maintains the filtering throughout the journey to keep passengers, especially those with allergies, comfortable.

The new air purification system is already under consideration for future Hyundai and Kia models and helps to address the growing concerns about the health impact of fine particulates, especially in highly-congested urban areas.

Unlike conventional air purification systems that only operate for a set period before turning off, Hyundai's "Smart Air Purification" continuously monitors the car's air quality, activating the purification function if the air quality decreases to a ‘Fair' level.

From there, it maintains the air cleaning process until the air quality improves to an ‘Excellent' level. Hyundai says that even if the exterior air quality is at ‘Poor' level, the system can purify air inside to ‘Excellent' quality in almost instantaneously.

Passengers can view the interior air quality levels via the car's audio-video navigation (AVN) screen, with a visual 16-bar digital display of air quality that operates in real-time.

Just what is considered "excellent" air quality? Depending on where you live, people living in Beijing, a city known for its smog filled sky, might have different opinions on what constitutes poor or excellent air quality.

Hyundai categorized the air quality levels according to Korea Environmental Corporation Standards, which categorizes four levels of air quality based on the presence of fine particulate matter as Excellent, Good, Fair and Poor.

"Enabling our customers to breathe the cleanest air, even in highly-polluted areas, is a demonstration of how Hyundai Motor Group strives to care for its customers," said YongSuk Shin, head of FR Interior & Exterior System Engineering Design Team. "This innovation is just one of many projects we are working on to provide our customers with the best in-car environments."

Hyundai designed an integrated, laser-based sensor to measure the levels of particulates in the air, which are mostly invisible to the human eye, to ensure the system's durability and reliability.


The air quality monitor uses a laser to measure particulates in the air

Typical air monitoring sensors are prone to reliability issues as fine particulates can gradually build up on the measurement lens. By using a laser-based design, the Hyundai Motor Group R&D team increased the system's overall reliability.

The Smart Air Purification system has undergone rigorous testing, guarantees that the purifier's fan motors and sensors will maintain full functionality at environments of both extreme heat and cold.

The new interior purification system includes high-performance air filters, which Hyundai says enhancing the collection rate of fine particulates from 94% to 99%.

The new filtration system also features a charcoal-based deodorization function, which can automatically close the vehicle's car windows to speed up the purification process.

Hyundai is not the first automaker to come up with an advanced air purification system. In 2016, electric automaker Tesla announced a HEPA cabin filter with what is calls "Bioweapon Defense Mode."

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that it was Inspired by the air filtration systems used in hospitals, clean rooms, and the aerospace industry. According to Tesla, the HEPA filtration system is capable of stripping the outside air of pollen, bacteria, and pollution before they enter the cabin and systematically scrubs the air inside the cabin to eliminate any trace of these particles.

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