Innovation That Matters

The interior of the vehicle radiates the warm, cozy atmosphere of an Ondol room | Photo source Hyundai

A concept car uses a heating system taken from Korean homes

Mobility & Transport

Hyundai has developed a concept vehicle that uses a traditional Korean underfloor heating system to create a cosy interior

Spotted: Traditional Korean houses are kept warm using an underfloor heating system called an ondol. Now, Korean automaker Hyundai has unveiled a self-driving concept vehicle whose interior arrangement echoes the warm and cosy atmosphere of a Korean ondol room. It features a passenger-centric space arranged with the front and rear seats facing each other, with no driver’s seat. The seat arrangement also allows passengers to recline, and even lie down for a nap, and the door trims have fold-out tables. The heating is provided by the car’s batteries, located under the seats.

The electric vehicle has an interior larger than that of a conventional car, with a tall height and long wheelbase. The extra space between seats and batteries can be used for installing auxiliary batteries or cargo and the extra space allows passengers to easily get in and out. The extra space also allows passengers room to take their shoes off (which is customary in Korean houses, especially those with ondol) and convenient shoe storage compartments.

In addition to the Mobility Ondol concept car, Hyundai is also developing a radiant heat technology to be used in future automobiles. The new system will use both residual heat from the battery and the radiant heating technology used in the Mobility Ondol concept. Real wood will add a tactile element and emphasise a sense of luxury. The heating element will be made of a woven carbon fabric with excellent thermal conductivity and low heat capacity, resulting in high heating efficiency. An insulating material underneath this will absorb sound and prevent energy loss caused by heat transfer from the heating element.

According to Hyundai, the company has filed a patent application for Mobility Ondol’s “unique seat structure and battery heat-based heating structure” with a number of countries, including the United States, Japan, China and Europe. The company adds that, “Hyundai Motor Group will continue its journey of technological discovery to ensure the automobiles of the future continue to provide the best and most comfortable moving experience.”

Self-driving is still not with us, but every year is bringing us closer. Springwise is eagerly following developments in this space, including innovations such as an autonomous delivery truck and a remote-piloted ride-sharing scheme. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff


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