New AI technology to enable vehicles to respond to driver’s emotions


SRI International (SRI), a global nonprofit research centre, has announced its advanced Emotional Artificial Intelligence (AI) automotive technology that will enable the next generation of vehicles to detect the driver’s emotions and respond accordingly.

SRI’s AI technology will learn from and grow with the driver to effectively allow humans and automobiles to become mobile partners.

The Emotional AI technology is designed for the next generation of vehicles that will better integrate the promise of advanced technology with an enhanced driving experience, and is available for commercialisation.

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Toyota Motor Corporation will be incorporating the first phase of SRI’s Emotional AI technology vision into the ‘LQ’, a concept car to be introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show from October 24th.  Sample cars will be ready by the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics beginning July 24th 2020.

The vision AI will observe drivers and monitor their emotional and physical state. It will learn to pick up gestures and non-verbal behaviours such as the driver’s expressions and actions. For example, the car can direct the driver toward a more scenic and relaxing route if the driver appears sad.

Another scenario includes detecting the alertness/drowsiness of the driver (eye movement, blinking patterns, patterns of head movement) to decrease accidents by playing sounds to wake up the driver, blow cold air, or direct the driver to immediately pull over.

“We embarked on a mission to enable cars to understand and partner with drivers. For in-car AI to succeed it has to recognize human emotion and physical state,” said SRI’s William Mark, President of Information & Computing Sciences. “SRI’s developments in emotional AI vision technology will lead to an enriched driving experience. For the first time, your car will understand you.”

“Imagine a vehicle that applies deep learning AI to infer emotions and estimate the driver’s state,” said Daisuke Ido, Chief Engineer of Toyota LQ. “By working with SRI to develop AI technology that monitors the driver, Toyota can advance safety technology and peace of mind to a higher level.”