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Hyundai's new tech can monitor and purify cabin air

Passengers can monitor air quality in real time through the infotainment screen.

Charcoal: It's not just for creating weird blackened snacks you can buy for $5 each at Trader Whomever's. 

As air quality continues to be a concern outside the car, Hyundai wants to make sure its cabins keep pollutants at bay, and it's developed a new technology to make that happen.

Hyundai this week introduced its Smart Air Purification system. While the filtration itself might not be new, as other automakers offer similar setups, Hyundai went a step further by adopting an automated monitoring system that will continue to clean the air until it's acceptably clean.

Here's how it works. A laser sensor inside the HVAC system monitors the cabin air quality. When it drops to a certain quality level, which Hyundai describes as "Fair," it will engage the purification system. It'll keep scrubbing particulates from the cabin until that air quality level rises to "Excellent," at which point the system will turn off.

Passengers can stay abreast of the system's efforts by monitoring air quality through the infotainment system. The screen turns the data into a 16-bar digital display, categorized based on Korea's four main levels of air quality, which measures how much fine particulate is in the air.

That's not all the new Smart Air Purification system does, either. It can deodorize the cabin using charcoal, which is renowned for its ability to soak up just about whatever passes through it. The tech can also close car windows to improve purification, as air entering through the open window doesn't have a chance to get filtered before hitting occupants.