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Hyundai-Kia, University of Michigan Partner for Research

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Aug. 23, 2013—The Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center Inc. (HATCI) has announced a partnership with the University of Michigan on two advanced automotive engineering projects focused on distracted driving and fuel economy.

The projects will pair graduate students and professors from the University's College of Engineering and School of Kinesiology with HATCI vehicle engineers to work alongside each other.

“Combining the unbridled enthusiasm and free-spirited thinking of graduate students from a world-class university with the talented technical minds found within HATCI, we can explore new ways in which to approach significant technological hurdles in the automotive industry,” said Dr. Sung Hwan Cho, president of HATCI.

The first project will study driver brainwaves for awareness and alertness in an effort to prevent “highway hypnosis,” an element of distracted driving where individuals can drive long distances without having consciously done so. Current methods of distracted driving detect head positioning and eyelid activity but with the use of electroencephalograph (EEG) sensors, the team will attempt to discover brainwave patterns that detect drowsiness before physical changes take place.

The second project will focus on improving fuel efficiency using a dual pre-chamber lean-burn combustion system. The study aims to improve in-cylinder flow and create a single-cylinder optical engine to visualize the flow and perform further studies. The graduate students will support the single cell optical study while HATCI engineers develop the cylinder hardware.

The partnership is beneficial to both parties as it provides an engineering recruiting opportunity for HATCI, targeting University of Michigan graduates, and will help retain engineering talent in the local area.

"KMA puts strong emphasis on incorporating useful advanced technology and innovative safety features into all of our vehicles, and it's projects like this collaboration with the University of Michigan that allow us to differentiate our brand and continue to bring safe, high-quality products to market," said Orth Hedrick, executive director of product planning at KMA.

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