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CES 2022: As health concerns rise, so do car gadgets



With personal health becoming a growing priority around the world, the auto industry is on the lookout for new gadgets and accessories to make the car cockpit feel safe for the driver and passengers.

Items on display at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) include air purifiers, car seat alarms and intelligent sun visors.

The aim is to turn the automobile “into a health cocoon of sorts,” Valio’s deputy chief executive Christophe Perillat said at a news conference at the show in Las Vegas.

The French auto supplier’s merchandise at CES includes equipment to monitor drivers’ attention and air filters and systems that allow individual climate control for passengers.

The company’s filtration system for cars and buses clears more than 95 percent of viruses, including COVID-19.

CabinAir and Marelli also showcased car air purification systems that can be installed inside the cockpit or in cup holders.

Another offering from Gentex is a sensor made of nano-fibers capable of surveying the air and identifying contaminants.

Carla Bailo, head of the Center for Automotive Research, said the latest generation of technology follows earlier efforts focused on the trucking industry, where prolonged periods behind the wheel lead to poor physical health.

After developing more ergonomic seats, auto suppliers have begun to focus on equipment to help drivers get ahead of other health problems such as cardiovascular issues and maintain driver awareness.

alerting parents

Some systems comply with government requirements on autos.

Italian startup Filo has developed an alarm system for children’s car seats, following a law in its home country aimed at preventing children from leaving them in the car on hot days.

The company was in Las Vegas to launch the technology for the United States, where hyperthermia causes dozens of casualties each year.

“With the busyness of life, the stress, et cetera, sadly we want to acknowledge that parents really miss sometimes… and they leave their kids in the car,” says Rudolf Said Jantos, who works in Marketing for Filo

The company’s Bluetooth-based system will alert the child to the seat when the driver moves away from the vehicle.

Other child-protection devices use cameras, radar, vibration detection and weight sensors, said Mike Ramsay, an expert in auto technology at consultancy Gartner.

Many of these products aren’t brand new, but “are becoming more practical in terms of cost and capabilities,” thanks to advances in algorithms and processors, Ramsay said.

These new devices have also been fueled by the rise of autonomous driving systems, which employ cameras and radar, said Jacques Aschenbroich, Valeo’s chief executive officer.

“We were focusing more on the comfort and heating of the seats,” he said. “Now our customers also ask for more visual comfort and security applications based on these cameras and radars”.

At CES, Bosch demonstrated its “virtual visor”, a transparent screen that traces the position of the driver’s eyes to an internal camera and can darken only the part of the windshield through which the sun disturbs the driver. will do, leaving the rest undisturbed.

“The key point is to use technology to really improve the customer experience, not to seem offensive,” Bailo said.

“There’s a fine line between ‘we’re trying to keep you safe, we’re trying to keep you healthy’ and ‘we’re watching what you’re doing’.”

Get the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show on Gadgets 360 on our CES 2022 hub.