Mitsubishi Electric shows the latest version of its Emirai concept vehicles. The Emirai series has been featured repeatedly at CES and shows off the latest driving technologies from the company – which is a separate entity from Mitsubishi Motors. The latest version, whose full name is the Emirai xS Drive Concept, is slated to debut at CES 2022.
Earlier EMirai concepts (“Mirai”, like the Toyota hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, means “future” in Japanese) focused on technologies such as biometrics for drivers and augmented reality to make driving easier. The Emirai xS Drive continues on this theme with two primary improvements.
In the field of biometrics, the concept tracks the driver with a near-infrared camera to detect his or her health. It not only controls drowsiness, but also emergency situations where an autonomic intervention may be required. It does this by monitoring the driver’s respiratory rate and heart rate, as well as checking for sudden changes in facial expressions, such as closing eyelids or opening the mouth. If an emergency is detected, the car takes over and parks to avoid accidents.
This seems to be aimed at older drivers, who mostly live in rural and suburban areas in Japan, where public transportation is not always an option. Mazda recently released a similar technology in Japan as well.
The system can also detect passengers, including children, using radio waves. By not relying on a weight sensor built into the seat, as in some modern vehicles, the system can detect a child even if it is hiding in a footwell.
The Emirai xS Drive also uses a Mitsubishi Electric High Definition Locator to control adaptive headlamps. Paired with the driver monitor above, it rotates the headlights to better illuminate the direction the driver’s head is turned, such as a bend or slope in front of the door.
The system also looks for other hazards, such as pedestrians crossing a dark road, and uses the adaptive headlights to shed more light on those subjects. It also searches for vehicles approaching from behind and projects a warning onto the road ahead, within the beam of the headlamps, letting the driver know what’s behind them without shifting their attention to a rear-view mirror.
However, it seems that while previous Emirai concepts were built around an actual show car, the latest evolution is just four seats and a dashboard in a self-contained cockpit. While Mitsubishi is on the concept name, it is not intended to be an exclusive feature of Mitsubishi Motors vehicles. The Mitsubishi Group is so large, with interests in everything from banking to mining, that Mitsubishi Electric will likely develop this solution for use in any brand willing to buy the technology.