If there’s one automaker that you can bet on to achieve their goals, it’s Kia Motors. Almost two years ago, in January 2018, Kia Motors claimed that they would be offering artificial intelligence in cars in 2019. More than likely, this would come from the Hyundai Motor Group, an automobile group that Kia Motors is a part of, and more often than not shares technology with. Here we are, in the final quarter of 2019, and the Hyundai Motor Group announced that they have developed the world’s first Machine Learning based Smart Cruise Control (SCC-ML).
Learning-based Smart Cruise Control
Being called an industry first, this new technology from the Hyundai Motor Group utilizes artificial intelligence to learn the driver’s patterns and then replicate them while operating Smart Cruise Control (SCC). The artificial intelligence was previously made available in one form with SCC, also known as an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) feature. For those that haven’t experienced SCC before, just like cruise control, SCC keeps the vehicle at a set speed while driving. Unlike regular cruise control, SCC will attempt to slow down if approaching the vehicle ahead too quickly and then speed back up if the driver moves into a clear lane. SCC can also use electric stop-go technology to stop the car (at a reasonable speed) and start it back up again, say if in traffic and the driver has SCC on.
These features of SCC are exactly what will make up the core of SCC-ML. By integrating this advanced artificial intelligence, the fine-tuning of the previous SCC will no longer be a problem. When it comes to the SCC available presently, the driver needs to manually adjust the driving patterns of the vehicle, such as the distance from the preceding vehicle, acceleration, as well as the speed. With SCC-ML, by learning how the driver behaves in normal conditions, when activated, it will attempt to drive as the driver would.
The Hyundai Motor Group poses this technology between Autonomy Levels Two and Three, where Level Two is already achieved with SCC and where Level Three would make the vehicle capable of making decisions without driver intervention. So if on an average day, Driver One tends to merge into the next available lane to get around someone going slower, when using SCC-ML, the driver won’t have to make that decision, as the vehicle will already anticipate it when stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle. It might take some getting used to, but if on the highway for the next 30 miles, letting the car operate on its own could be nice.
It sounds crazy, but here’s how SCC-ML operates: (1) sensors in the front and around the vehicle constantly acquire driving information and relay it back to the centralized computer, (2) the computer extracts relevant details to identify the driver’s patterns, and (3) then applies a machine learning algorithm to build a library of information. In addition, the machine learning algorithm, a form of artificial intelligence (AI), then categorizes these behaviors into three parts – distance from preceding vehicles, acceleration, and responsiveness. Finally, the AI uses this information against present driving conditions and speeds the driver is driving at. Essentially, after enough use, SCC-ML will be able to distinguish over 10 thousand driving patterns.
A good example would be the difference between city driving and driving on the highway. Drivers tend to be slow but stay close and move with traffic in the former. On the highway, due to driving at faster speeds, drivers tend to give more space between themselves and the driver ahead (or at least they should). SCC-ML will learn this over time and can then reflect those driving behaviors to match the driver’s style. Most importantly, for safety reasons, SCC-ML is programmed specifically to avoid learning unsafe driving patterns.
The Hyundai Motor Group already has plans to implement this technology in future models. That means Hyundai Motors and Kia Motors will soon have the world’s first Machine Learning based Smart Cruise Control (SCC-ML). What do you think about letting the vehicle take over in controlled conditions? Join the discussion on Miami Lakes Kia social media.