Researcher wins Hyundai invention award for impact-absorbing tech

Hyundai Motor senior researcher Kim Do-hee has won the grand prize at the 10th Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors “The Changer” Invention Day Awards for coming up with a vehicle structure that can absorb the impact from a collision, according to Hyundai Motor Group.

The awards ceremony is an annual event to encourage the group’s researchers to suggest new ideas for vehicles. Since the first event in 2010, a total of 17,500 patents have been applied for, the group said.

This year’s event involved more than 3,000 competing ideas. For six finalists, the group held an awards ceremony on Friday at its lab in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province.

Of them, Kim presented a new body structure for compact and midsize cars, which maximizes the car body’s ability to cushion the impact from a collision.

“Small and midsize cars have relatively less space for absorbing impact, compared to larger ones,” Kim said. “The new body places a fender apron in the front of the body and adopts a new A-Pillar structure so that it can absorb collision energy. This optimizes a car’s movement under harsh conditions, such as small overlap crash tests.”

Along with Kim, five others also won prizes with their ideas such as new oil pressure logic, noise suppressing technology and assessment of driver’s and passengers’ condition by checking biometric signals with the car’s sensors.

For his idea, Kim received 5 million won ($4,193) in prize money. Two runners-up each received 2 million won and three commendation award winners earned 1 million won.

Should Kim’s and others’ ideas be commercialized, the group will compensate them by paying them up to 1 billion won.

The group paid a total 34 million won to last year’s awardees who developed thermoelectric technology raising a vehicle’s energy efficiency and communication technology using Ethernet.

“The event has served as the technological basis of Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors’ R&D activities for the past 10 years,” a group official said. “The group will continue motivate researchers to come up with creative ideas and apply them to future vehicles.”

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