Mood Recognition Technology: Pivo 2 Driver Experience Enhanced

Mood recognition technology plays an important part of the Pivo 2 concept car from Nissan, now being shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. Pivo 2 has an in-dash robot (a "robotic agent") to enhance the driver's connection with the car; the intent is that the driver will see the car as a "creature, rather than as a machine."


(Pivo 2 in-dash robot)

According to Masato Inoue, Nissan's chief designer, the Pivo 2 concept car's robot can reduce accidents by engaging the driver and making sure that the driver is not too tired or inattentive. "When drivers are happy, the accident rate is drastically lower," he observes. "The robot agent is there to cheer up the driver, to guide the driver and to sense the sleepiness of the driver."


(Masato Inoue, Nissan's chief designer: Pivo 2 video)

One essential element of Pivo 2's mood recognition technology is the camera mounted in front of the driver. The camera monitors the driver's eye movement to determine if the driver is becoming sleepy. Pivo 2 can tighten the seat belt to try to snap the driver out of it.


(Pivo 2 determines the driver's mood)

Pivo 2 can also judge from the driver's face whether the driver is happy or sad.

The Pivo 2 in-dash robot chats cheerfully with the driver, offering information at the request of the driver. "Where is the parking lot?" she asks. "One hundred meters on the right," says Pivo 2, looking forward and to the driver's right. "And two hundred meters to the left," says Pivo 2, swiveling to the left. "The one on the left is cheaper."


(Pivo 2 robot chats with the driver in video)

The Pivo 2 robot, according to Inoue, sometimes "guides the driver, and sometimes cheers up the driver." It may say "you look angry - please calm down."

Current mood recognition technology is not quite good enough to enable science fictional ideas like Frank Herbert's daily schedule from his 1977 book The Dosadi Experiment, which could determine the mood of its user and respond appropriately:

The Daily Schedule began playing to McKie as he emerged from the bath. The DS suited its tone to his movements and the combined analysis of his psychophysical condition.

"Good morning, ser," it fluted.

McKie, who could interpret the analysis of his mood from the DS tone, put down a flash of resentment. Of course he felt angry and concerned.

"Good morning, you dumb inanimate object," he growled...

Hopefully, Nissan's designers also take into account the rapidly changing moods of human beings.

Other real-world attempts at mood recognition:

Read more about the Nissan Pivo 2 Concept Car.

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