Fiction is one step closer to reality.
A team from the Swiss technical school Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne (aka EPFL) has teamed up with French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen to develop an in-car emotion detector.
Yes, like KITT from “Knight Rider” or Herbie from “The Love Bug,” cars may soon be aware of humankind’s fragile emotional states.
As seen in the video above, the emotion detector uses an infrared camera located behind the car’s steering wheel to determine what emotions a driver is displaying. The system can then determine the driver’s “stress level.”
In particular, the system looks to see if a driver is experiencing anger or disgust — emotions, as a news story on EPFL’s website notes, that are associated with aggression. If the system is able to detect a driver displaying one or both of these emotions, it can then work “to limit a vehicle’s speed, or flash and sound a warning…to calm down,” Gizmodo writes.
Of course, not everyone expresses anger and disgust in the same way. Since the emotion detector currently pieces together a driver’s emotional state from a database of images and videos depicting individuals expressing these emotions, the system’s accuracy is still in need of perfection. The EPFL news story notes the school will continue research on the device.
The Huffington Post reached out to EPFL to find out more information about the system’s future but did not receive an immediate response.