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Air conditioners get smarter this year

Major makers utilize AI to make rooms cool in a better way
Jan 18,2019
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Left: Models pose beside Samsung Electronics’ 2019 Wind-free air conditioners at the company’s R&D campus in Seocho District, southern Seoul, on Thursday. Right: LG Electronics’ Whisen ThinQ air conditioners that released on Thursday. [SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS, LG ELECTRONICS]
Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to deliver cool air in a smarter way,

They are offering products that quietly, more comfortably and efficiently control the temperature of a room to best meet the needs of the occupants and automatically adjust its settings.

Samsung is also continuing to offer air conditioners that cool in an innovative way, without blasts of wind.

Its models emit cool air through many small holes rather than blowing it out vents. The technology is known as “Wind-free.”

AI functions were added last year, but were limited in terms of what they did. Mainly, the machines would activate if a person got close.

This year, the appliances are getting smarter. They will be able to recognize who is in the room and adjust operation depending on personal preferences.

They are also smart enough to combine preferences and adjust in a way to satisfy everyone present.

A new function will be added in the first half. The company’s Bixby AI voice assistant will be incorporated in the air conditioners, and the appliances will be able to recognize which member of the family is speaking.

Although it is not yet known what the voice recognition will do, one possibility is that the air conditioner will be able to automatically adjust the temperature and operation by recognizing voices, according to a Samsung spokesperson.

“Until last year, the AI competition for air conditioners was mainly about accurately understanding vocal commands,” he said. “But our direction is to develop technology so that home electronics can adjust and control itself in the best way that suits the user and the current weather conditions without receiving any commands at all.”

An LG Electronics 2019 model from its Whisen line and released Thursday also boasts upgraded smartness. The Whisen ThingQ Air Conditioner automatically controls itself based on an analysis of the indoor air quality and past control records. Once it changes settings, the device informs the customer exactly what was done out loud.

If it detects that the temperature is not falling fast on a hot day, it will automatically go to power mode. On days when the dust level is low, the device will tell the user to open the windows for ventilation.

New releases from both companies offer improved air purifying functions. They can detect and filter out smaller particles than in the past.

Air purifying has been regarded a secondary function for air conditioners in the past, but rising public concern about fine dust has had people turning on the appliances throughout the year.

Samsung’s 2019 Wind-free model can filter particles that are as small as 0.3 micrometers in diameter. LG’s Whisen has improved sensors and can purify the air in a larger area than past models.

For the first time, LG embedded its ThinQ AI software in wall air conditioners, while Samsung released its first Wind-free model that can be installed on the wall.

Samsung’s new air conditioners will be on sale from Feb. 1.

Its standalone models are priced between 3.8 million ($3,380) and 6.7 million won depending on performance. The wall models will be priced around one million won. LG released a total of 26 new air conditioners in 2019 priced between 2.8 million and 5.7 million won.


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]