In the current era of convergence, the automobile industry is expanding its scope by adding technologies from various fields beyond the current framework. In an era where new ideas can discover new markets, their value becomes very important. So the way we find ideas is changing too. In the past, companies looked for ideas outside the company, such as consulting firms, but now they are hearing the voices of their employees inside the company. Because many brilliant ideas are based on an understanding of the field of work and the nature of the company.
To gather good ideas, you need a place of communication. It should be possible to share and organize various opinions so that anyone can easily see them. This is why, in September 2020, Hyundai Mobis created M.FIELDs, an employee idea portal. The name of M.FIELDs was derived from the MOBIS Forum of Innovative Experiences to Lead Driving Science, and it provides various functions such as new technology in the future automobile field, technology information sharing for the realization of new business ideas, idea suggestion, and discussion by topic.
Currently, M.FIELDs are playing a pivotal role in gathering various ideas of Hyundai Mobis employees. Employees in all departments, including planning, sales, production, and logistics, as well as in the R&D field, can freely propose ideas and share various opinions on product development and mass production. This portal mainly features three areas: the idea part - an online suggestion box, the knowledge part - which provides information such as the latest technology and automobile industry trends, and the communication part - an online discussion tool.
So the strength of M.FIELDs lies in their collective intelligence. For example, even if an idea is proposed by an employee who does not have a high understanding of technology, other employees can refine it together. They also changed the validation method to make it easier to present ideas; Previously, the proposer was in charge of the work, but now the person in charge of each field goes through verification together with the proposer. The company also provides opportunities such as field trips and observations to global creative workshops, startups, and overseas universities for employees who have proposed excellent ideas.
M.FIELDs covers a wide range of ideas. They freely share ideas for new businesses such as robots, biometric technology, AI, and UAM - urban air mobility - as well as in the automotive field, and if they have a good idea, they start developing it quickly. Ideas that can be realized with simple functional improvement or software updates are effectively applied to the product, and ideas that require verification for implementation undergo internal proof of concept (PoC) verification before the market releases new products or technologies.
In addition to M.FIELDs, Hyundai Mobis is also holding the ‘M.FIELDs Festa’, a festival for sharing ideas from 2020. It is an event to select the two best ideas from the proposals of the year and to demonstrate the best ideas in development. In the first year, 8 excellent ideas were announced out of about 650 ideas, and two of them were selected as the best ideas: 'A vehicle posture estimation method using G-sensor' and 'Vehicle sterilization device using UV LED'.
The technology used in the UV LED sterilizer can be found in various fields - for example, a toothbrush sterilizer or baby bottle sterilizer using a short-wavelength (260-280nm) UV sterilization LED. In many countries, robots are also used to disinfect empty hospital rooms and operating rooms with high-power UV sterilization LEDs. However, the human eyes and ears are vulnerable to prolonged direct exposure to short-wavelength sterilizing LEDs - hence the robots instead of manpower.
To overcome such obstacles, Hyundai Mobis is searching for a new way to remotely sterilize the cabin through a mobile application before getting on the vehicle and is also researching a deep-UV LED sterilizer with a wavelength of 222nm. According to a 2020 announcement by researchers at Columbia University Medical School, the deep-UV LED sterilizer can effectively sterilize without damaging the human body. This also makes it possible to use ambient light applied to the interior of the car.
If there is a deep-UV LED sterilizer in the ambient light, passengers can know the air pollution level inside the vehicle through the interior color change, just like the air purifier expresses the indoor air pollution level by color change. Even before you get into the car, you can check the cabin's air pollution level by color. In addition, if you install a deep-UV LED sterilizer under the seat, in the door-trim storage space, in the center console, or in the glove box, you may create a more comfortable cabin.
The technology was also used in the Hyundai Ioniq concept Seven, which was unveiled at the 2021 LA Motor Show. 'Seven' activates UVC sterilization mode once passengers get out of the car. UVC UV LED lights from control sticks, front-seat storage, and speakers keep the cabin clean. Also, the lounge seat and universal island are equipped with a UVC sterilization storage unit to thoroughly manage cabin hygiene.
M.FIELDs Festa 2021 last December was even bigger; Employees from around the world, including research centers in North America, Europe, India, and China, as well as Korea, submitted more than 800 ideas. And among them, four were chosen for R&D plans. This is one step further from just an idea proposal; they actually started developing as independent projects.
‘Parabolic Motion Glove Compartment’ and ‘Lamp Failure Diagnosis Using Rear View Camera’ were selected as the best ideas for 2021. Among them, the parabolic motion glove compartment presents a storage space utilization method in the EV era. In future electric vehicles to which autonomous driving becomes the new normal, people will spend much more time in their vehicles; And the importance of storage units is expected to increase. So, researchers at Hyundai Mobis focused on the glove compartment. While internal combustion engines have HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) blowers behind the glove compartment, electric vehicles have blowers in the engine compartment, so they can make the glove compartment larger using the extra space.
But a larger glove compartment is not always the answer; It should be easy to open and close in a small cabin. In general, the glove compartment has a lid type or a drawer type. The lid type has a fixed storage box, which makes it difficult to take things out. On the other hand, the drawer type often touches the knee while opening.
So if the storage box gets bigger, you need a new way to open it. Hyundai Mobis researchers got the idea from an airplane's overhead console. Their overhead console uses a four-bar linkage, which is lowered when pulled forward for easy loading. By utilizing this in the glove compartment of the car, it can be easily opened and closed even if the storage space is large. Of course, since automobiles are smaller than airplanes, various complementary measures are being studied to efficiently apply this structure.
In this way, not only the technologies that can be seen in daily life but also the ideas using new technologies are being utilized in the real automobile field - just like the Four-face LED Optical module. This is a next-generation lamp optical technology that uses a new 4-Face LED device to irradiate the vehicle lamp LED's light at 360°. Just within a year since the pitch, the automaker has succeeded in developing a product for the first time in the world. The technology is expected to be applied to premium electric vehicles in the future.
The automobile industry is rapidly expanding its scope in the age of convergence. The combination of automobiles and electronics, which were thought to be completely different fields, is leading to new technologies that have not been seen before. When electric/autonomous vehicles take over, the paradigm of movement will also change and you will need to actively gather various ideas in order to prepare for the emergence of such an era. This is why Hyundai Mobis creates an environment where people can freely express their opinions, review possibilities, and constantly research. Hyundai Mobis' M.FIELDs may change our daily life.
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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