Auto Emotion Detector Lets Your Car Know Your Mood

A new automotive driver emotion detector would let your car make a better decision about whether or not you should be driving. Researchers in EPFL’s Signal Processing 5 Laboratory (LTS5), working with PSA Peugeot Citroën, have created a device that analyzes facial expressions inside a car. The system makes use of an infrared camera placed behind the steering wheel.

EPFL
(Via EPFL)

To simplify the task at this stage of the project, Hua Gao and Anil Yüce, who led the research, chose to track only two expressions: anger and disgust.

How to detect irritation
1) The system “learned” to identify the two emotions using a series of photos of subjects expressing them.
2) Then the same exercise was carried out using videos. When the test failed, it was usually because this state is very variable from individual to individual — given the diversity of how we express anger.

EPFL’s Thiran Jean-Philippe suggested... that emotional states like stress or anger could be handled with soft music or a soft light on the dashboard. “Similarly, detecting fatigue could lead to launching energetic music or more aggressive lighting of the dashboard. In the longer term, in the context of semi-autonomous vehicles, it will be increasingly important for the car to be aware of the emotional state of the driver, in order to correctly decide which tasks have to be handled automatically by the car and which ones can be/have to be transferred back to the driver.”

This scenario should sound familiar to fans of Arthur C. Clarke, and in particular the book and movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, which described the emotion-sensing capabilities of the HAL 9000 computer:

"Hal, switch to manual hibernation control."

"I can tell from your voice harmonics, Dave, that you're badly upset. Why don't you take a stress pill and get some rest?"

"Hal, I am in command of this ship. I order you to release the manual hibernation control."

"I'm sorry, Dave, but in accordance with special subroutine C1435-dash-4, quote, When the crew are dead or incapacitated, the onboard computer must assume control, unquote. I must, therefore, overrule your authority, since you are not in any condition to exercise it intelligently."

I should also point out that Philip K. Dick was way ahead in the area of cars taking your keys when necessary; see this article on his alcohol sensing system from his 1963 novel The Game Players of Titan.

Via Kurzweil AI and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) Signal Processing Laboratory 5.

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