As the world grapples with the novel coronavirus and several other infectious viruses and bacteria, the automobile industry is also finding ways to support the world's health efforts with innovative technologies that will help tackle these germs. These ideas and technology have been in the pipeline before now but the current realities mean automakers will now be forced to double their efforts to make these features standard in every car model leaving the factory from now.
This is more imperative going by what the WHO Special Envoy on Convid 19, Dr. David Nabarro, said during his interview with Stephen Sackur on BBC Hard Talk. Dr Nabarro made it clear that we must be ready to find ways to live and work with the virus around us until we find a treatment or vaccine for it. This surely implies that all hands must be on deck and thus technological innovations that can help tackle this challenge are welcome.
Now let's have a look at two innovative ideas the auto industry is utilizing to help eliminate or bring to a minimum, bacteria, and viruses that find their way into our cars.
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Technologies that help tackle bacteria and viruses
1. UV-C Light Technology
There are three forms of Ultraviolet light, UV-A, UV-B and UV-C, each differentiated by the size of their wavelength. The UV-C is actually the form with the shortest wavelength, with rays small enough to reach particles that are extremely small, like those of viruses and bacteria. Remember that natural UV lights with the three forms are supplied by sunlight, however, scientists have discovered artificial means of generating UV light, especially the UV-C category.
1.1. How does UV-C light deactivate germs?
The answer is really simple. When UV light falls on human skin, they usually succeed in altering that skin cell's DNA. In the same vein, this light is known to be able to disrupt the DNA of viruses and other germs they come in contact with, effectively rendering them useless and noninfectious. The effectiveness of the UV-C light in rendering germs noninfectious has been confirmed across a wide range of germs including some members of the Corona family of germs.
However, we must note that the UV-C light is very harmful to humans as it can have really negative effects as mentioned earlier, that's why people are always advised against exposing themselves to these rays. But a new type of the UV-C light, the Far UV-C light has been found experimentally to be unharmful to human skin cells while being very effective at neutralizing germ cells.
Far UV-C holds the key for future UV-C technology use in cars
Image: Courtesy of CBS
1.2. UV-C light technology in cars
With this in mind, auto manufacturers are devising ways of utilizing this technology in cars to help fight infectious germs that find their ways into our vehicles. Till now, Jaguar has concluded plans to infuse UV-C light technology as a standard feature in upcoming models of its cars. Jaguar says the technology will be installed in heating and air conditioning units of its cars to make sure that all pathogens found in the venting systems are neutralized even before the air is pumped into the vehicle's cabin. This technology will be made available in upcoming models of both Land Rover and Jaguar brands.
- Grenlite system
Recently GHSP introduced its premium UV-C light technology, the Grēnlite system powered by the UV Angel technology. The grēnlite system is designed to function only when no human is within the vehicle cabin, employing a number of sensors to decide when this condition is met. The technology intelligently sterilizes vehicle cabin air and surfaces with a considerable beam of UV-C light.
This is significantly different in terms of mode of operation compared to what's offered by Jaguar which only sterilizes air being introduced into the cabin while the grenlite system sterilizes surfaces and air already present within the vehicle cabin before human entry.
A close look at the van interior roof shows the grenlite tech shining away
This technology was only released early this year at the 2020 CES exhibition and offers high prospects of usage across the auto industry considering the current global health pandemic, which might possibly be here with us for years to come.
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2. Cabin air filtration/Purification technology
Auto vehicle air purification systems basically utilize ionization to achieve air purification. The ionization technique works by emitting negatively charged ions into the car's cabin. The negative ions then attach themselves to positively charged particles like the bacteria and viruses, effectively making them too heavy to float in air within the cabin and thus have to fall t the cabin floor where they can be cleaned off.
On the other hand air filtration as the name implies works by filtering out very tiny particles before they enter the vehicle's cabin through its air conditioning vents. This is accomplished by utilizing HEPA standard filters which carefully rids the car's cabin of tiny bacterial and viruses.
2.1. Cabin air filtration/Purification technology in cars
- Cabin air filtration or air purification technology has been around for some time, considering that Toyota introduced its 2007 model Toyota Camry Hybrid models with the Sharp built Plasmacluster ionizer system.
- Buick has also made sure its Enclave models come with the Buick Enclave air ionizer technology since 2018.
- Tesla also introduced what it calls the Bioweapon Defense Mode which is actually a technology that incorporates a Tesla built HEPA filter along with other proprietary components to effectively eliminate every single particle including all germ sizes from the cabin of a car. The technology also makes sure that air coming into the car through the air conditioning vents are completely free of every germ and particle.
- Geely Motors says that starting from March 2020, it will begin to offer its custom air purification system as a standard feature in their cars. The G-Clean Intelligent Air Purification System (IAPS) according to Geely Motors works at the same level as the N95 nose masks which have been proven to be very effective at managing viruses and bacteria like the Convid-19 virus.
Have a look at the top five car air purifiers in the market you should consider buying for your cars in the video:
Top 5 Car Air Purifier
The use of these 2 technologies that help tackle bacteria and viruses is surely gaining much attention, as we struggle to manage the global health crisis and the current Convid-19 pandemic. Without a doubt, these two technologies will be very vital in the coming years, to help keep our cars free of disease-causing germs like the coronavirus.
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