Every year Hyundai and Kia hold their R&D Idea Festival. This is where engineers have the opportunity to create what they see as the future of vehicles.
This year ten entries made it to the final presentation stage after just six months of development time. From cars that double as giant musical instruments and augmented reality driving, to solar vehicles with detachable electric bikes, everything was innovative.
Prepare for a whole new way of looking at vehicles.
This car can be controlled using a virtual reality headset. That means a person could go out drinking and be driven home by someone else. Brilliant.
The car is connected by a data connection that allows for the virtual controls. The camera in the car moves based on the gaze of the virtual driver, as they turn their head in the headset. The virtual driver unit looks similar to a car gaming setup.
The great thing here is that the system uses a module that can be fitted to any car to make it remote controllable.
In the future this could also be controlled by the machine itself. The engineers claim it could be on the road in five years. This could allow rental companies to drop-off a car without having to send a person. It could also be good for accessing areas where people can't go due to safety. Something a self-driving car may not manage.
Currently 4G has too much latency for this to be supported so it will need to wait for a better connection option before it appears on the road.
In areas where water is rare this device can collect the sacred wet stuff in the air and spray it down on the land below. The idea is to supply water to crops or people below.
This is just a concept but the final model would fly a lot higher so as to collect more moisture. This model uses a four-propeller drone unit but the final model would likely have eight.
The water is sprayed out so it could be used for crops or even to stop fires. Dropping water can also help to purify the air in areas where quality is poor.
This is for areas where polluted and dirty water is all that's available. This bike is a water purifying unit that doubles as a washing machine.
Since people in Africa travel a long way to wash clothes, this cuts out that journey and allows people to wash on the go – say, on the way to school.
The pedaling moves the water, powering the unit. But there is also a motor that can power the rider and do the washing all at once, without the need to pedal. At the moment filters need to be bought but the hope is that a more affordable solution will be created.
The machine cost $6,000 to develop so if made on a larger scale could be far more affordable.
U Can Concert
This isn't just a car, it's a band too. The steering wheel and seat tops double as a drum kit. Different parts of the wheel act as different drums, with bongos in the seat shoulders. The keyboard is hidden in the glove box plus a computer can be connected for even more input.
A fun concept indeed, but probably not the safest thing for on-road driving. Examples given for use are while stuck on the side of the road, camping or cheering for a sports team. It's a bit like Guitar Hero in the car.
Aimed at developing nations, this should offer greater mobility. This car uses solar energy to power movement. This means children can get to school easier for education or to hospitals to save lives.
The car can expand, adding sections into what was a compact car. This makes it possible to use it as a truck.
Our favourite parts are the two bikes on the rear of the vehicles. These can be used to drive away from the car but also double as wheels for when in truck mode.
The solar power can be used for more than just powering the car's movements, it can also be used for external needs.
Movement when in a wheelchair can be near impossible for those without use of their arms or legs. Specialised wheelchairs are very expensive. This new system can be mounted to most wheelchairs to let anyone drive.
Using a head control unit, movement of the head and shoulders allows for driving direction.
Battery life is varied depending on battery size. This example unit lasts about 20 hours on a charge. Even if the motor runs out of battery, the drive units can be detached and it can be used as a normal wheelchair. This is something heavy specialist wheelchairs apparently don't offer.
This vehicle looks like a giant Sphero. Using two massive wheels this electric vehicle can navigate all surfaces, flat, raised, gravel or otherwise.
Since the driver is suspended, when climbing slopes the seat remains level, avoiding lean for a more comfortable ride.
Each wheel can be controlled by joysticks, so steering can be subtle or on-the-spot if needed.
Electric motors are on each side and fully charged it should offer 20 hours with a top speed of 60kph. It requires no driver's license, in Korea at least.
This vehicle's seating has three modes. Firstly a normal baby car seat can be added comfortably thanks to the car offering motorised seats. This allows for movement to fit the baby seat more easily.
The second mode offers a foldable baby seat, so it only blows up via a compressor when it's needed. The rest of the time it's a normal rear car seat.
The third offering is a monitor in the rear of the car so the driver can check on the child in the rear while still looking forward. The screens are two-way so the child can see whatever the driver selects, like a cartoon for that perfect distraction time.
This odd unit can be used to pull along anything, from shopping to children. The bike can even be controlled from a smartphone allowing for it to be used away from the vehicle. It offers a stand-up platform riding position for a clear view.
The unit has a baby cry sensor so you get alerted if the child is crying. Odd when it's just behind you anyway. This can apparently even interpret why the baby is crying, somehow. There is also a setting to have the vehicle follow the user around.
The idea of this creation is to augment reality for the headset wearing driver. This way virtual cones can be setup for driving tests. That means the course can be built and varied easily and cone damage isn't an issue.
While this is created for testing cars, within the production level of car creation, it could have applications for driving tests in the future.