A grand-scale project that was in testing stage for over a year is now public; the brand-new “Quiet Taxis” hit the streets of South Korea with all deaf drivers. The new Quiet Taxis are part of Hyundai Group’s project to employ more able-bodied deaf citizens.
Hyundai Group especially focused on developing and installing the latest technology into their cars; because of their laser focus, they won last year’s Most Innovative award at the national tech show. The award gave Hyundai the Quiet Taxi project; the company went to work on features tailored for deaf drivers:
- Flashing lights and vibrations in the steering wheel: the taxi’s built in sensors pick up on any obstacles and alert the driver with vibrations. The same happens when sirens are detected along with flashing lights on the steering wheel, cuing the driver to pull over. If another driver honks at the taxi, the steering wheel’s lights will flash too.
- HUD display shows the road ahead: The reflected light display on the driver’s dash shows real-time information to the driver. Obstacles, oncoming cars, honking, and sirens are all shown in this display.
- Built-in tablets for driver-passenger communication: The tablets support speech-to-text; passengers can speak directly to the tablet and it will automatically type out for the driver. Passengers can choose a destination from the map and plugs into the driver’s GPS. There is are two panels in every Quiet Taxi; one in the front seat and the back seat. Both work with the passengers’ seat preference.
With these three key technologies and an impressively low accident rate of 0.012% for deaf drivers in South Korea, the Quiet Taxi is on its way to becoming mainstream.