Among the many premium interior features in the 2015 Hyundai Genesis is a “world-first” safety technology—an in-cabin CO2 sensor control system, located under the glove box, that combats occupant drowsiness.
When CO2 levels reach more than 2000 parts per million (ppm)—the threshold for when occupants start to get drowsy, according to Hyundai engineers—the new ventilation system circulates freshly-ventilated ambient air. The system monitors the vehicle’s intake of fresh or recirculated air using a dedicated CO2 sensor supplied by Halla Visteon Climate Control Corp.
“Part of the concept of this vehicle was finding really intelligent execution of features that are desired by our customers,” said Ricky Lao, Senior Manager, Product Planning at Hyundai Motor America. Or in the case of the in-cabin CO2 control system, a desirable feature that many customers probably were not aware of previously.
“This is an idea that came about from one of our R&D engineers,” Lao explained. “He has a very long commute from the Namyang R&D Center [in South Korea] to his home, and he found that he was getting a little bit more drowsy and fatigued on his drives. What we found in our research is that there is actually a strong correlation between CO2 levels and fatigue and alertness.”
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards for CO2 levels in the office environment are 5000 ppm averaged over a 40-h work week. “With this feature, we’re a little bit more aggressive,” Lao noted. “At 2000-ppm CO2 level, our system will automatically bring in fresh air to help provide a more comfortable cabin environment.”
The feature can be turned off via the user settings manual, if so desired by the vehicle occupants.
System development began in 2010. For now, the technology is exclusive to Genesis, a company spokesperson said. But that could change in the future.