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Hyundai Looking at UV Light System for Disinfecting Cars

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The ability of ultraviolet light (UVs) to kill viruses has unsurprisingly placed it on the front lines in the fight against the novel coronavirus. The Hyundai Group has just announced it’s looking at the possibility of using UV light to disinfect the interiors of tis vehicles. Simple dome lights could become a useful tool in the fight against Covid-19.

“HMG is about to use UV light sterilization technology on their vehicles,” reads a recent announcement posted on the automaker’s website. What’s more, “HMG is planning to develop an interior cabin light that also contains a sterilization feature.” A ceiling-mounted device could for example “sterilize the seats, floor mats, dashboard, and the steering wheel all at the same time."

See also: Coronavirus: How to Clean Your Car Interior Properly

In addition to making use of UV light, the company says it’s also looking at ways to remove pathogens in the air of the cabin.

It’s important to keep in mind that UV light is actually dangerous for human skin. Any system would therefore only be active and in use when there are no occupants in the vehicle.

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2019 Hyundai Tucson, interior
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2019 Hyundai Tucson, interior

The use of UV lighting to reduce pathogens dates back to the 1930s if not earlier, according to a recent report by the New York Times. At that time the technology was used successfully inside school buildings in Philadelphia. More recently, UV lighting has been harnessed to disinfect surfaces in public areas such as subway cars and hospital operating rooms.

Hyundai did not advance a possible timeline for having the technology in its vehicles, but given the current situation, such a project may well find itself skipping the queue and being made a top priority.

This news brings to mind a round table discussion Auto123 attended with representatives from Nissan Canada back at the beginning of the outbreak. We were told to expect a number of new technological advances to come out of the fight against Covid-19.

Hyundai just gave us an example.