We bet you were confused as well when you were reading the headline. To answer your question, Mitsubishi Electric isn’t the same Mitsubishi that makes cars like the beloved Lancer Evolution. While being under the same corporate umbrella, the company produces a different set of products like air conditioners, refrigerators, and other home and industrial appliances.
In the past, the firm has made a few concept vehicles bearing the Emirai name. This latest version is called the Emirai xS Drive, a very blocky four-seater that wouldn’t look out of place on the set of a sci-fi movie. However, it’s bizarre design isn’t the main focus, but rather the amount of technology hidden underneath its skin.
There’s a near-infrared camera and a radio-wave sensor that monitor driver attention. While this sounds trivial considering some cars already have a rudimentary implementation of this, Mitsubishi Electric takes it a step further by tracking vital signs like the pulse, respiration rates, and changes in skin tone due to variations in heart rate. If it detects any abnormal readings, the vehicle can suggest a rest break or park itself should the driver be incapacitated.
Both the camera and the sensor also determine the position of the passengers’ faces and skeletal points to accurately determine body sizes. It can also detect infants who are obscured (by a blanket, for example) or out of reach of the camera’s field of view, and inform the driver and other people nearby that there is a child left in the vehicle.
Finally, using the company’s driver-assistance technology, the Emirai xS Drive can adjust its headlights dynamically according to the road conditions ahead and to where the driver is looking. Obstacles and road signs are highlighted, and a combination of external cameras and millimeter-wave radar can inform the user of potential hazards in the driver’s blind spots.
Concept vehicles rarely make it into production. But expect some of the Emirai xS Drive’s features to trickle down to future production cars especially those made by Mitsubishi. If you want to see this concept in person, you’ll be able to catch it at the Consumer Electronics Show this January 5-8, 2022 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in the US, assuming the trade event doesn’t get canceled.