Valeo introduced technology to save energy in carsJanuary 11, 2020
The main goal of Valeo’s Smart Cocoon concept is to save energy in electric cars.
At extreme temperatures, when batteries operate at the lowest efficiency, it takes a lot of precious amplifiers to heat or cool the cab, and therefore Valeo sought to find a more efficient way to ensure passenger comfort. In this regard, the obvious question arose: why heat (or cool) the entire cabin when you can focus on people?
Our demo took place in Mercedes with a clearly damped climate control panel. A lot of equipment is hidden: cameras for low light, infrared cameras, temperature sensors, face and body recognition devices, and even low-power radar. The system processes a huge amount of data: it can find out whether a seat is taken, find out the passenger’s face, and determine body temperature, heart and respiratory rate, and activity levels. By comparing the temperature of your face with other parts of your body, the system even finds out how much you are dressed. It even determines your gender and age. All information is used in real time, nothing is stored in the car or in the cloud.
Using all this data collected, the system can determine the factors that affect your comfort – not only temperature, but also mood, stress level and fatigue. Temperature adjustment is performed for each individual place using energy-efficient devices developed by Valeo, including heating pads hidden in the armrests and the central stack (they can also work behind leather and wood panels), and air vents that save energy. using intelligent air distribution and diffusion rather than brute force. Coolers are combined with a battery cooling system, and not with a traditional air conditioning compressor. All of them consume less energy than traditional single-point HVAC systems.
Does Smart Cocoon work? Does it ever do. I sat in the car, watched a demonstration (which included recognition of our faces and movements in low light of the camera), and after a few seconds I was … well, comfortable. I intentionally wore my super heavy hoodie L.L. Bean, which looks insignificant, but surprisingly and she was not able to fool the car. I took off my sweatshirt with a secret weapon, and the system found out and adjusted the temperature accordingly.
Smart Cocoon is still in need of refinement. Hot-water bottles make the armrests uncomfortably warm, and although I was grateful, the system underestimated my age by 4-16 years. In addition, in the current version there is no way to set the temperature, because it seemed to defeat the goal. But people from Valeo admit that the interface has a long way to go, especially considering cultural differences – Americans prefer to switch air conditioning to Arctic Blast, while Europeans obviously prefer a breeze.
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