comScore Future Cars May Detect Angry Drivers to Curb Road Rage | The Mary Sue
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In the Future, Your Car Will React to Your Emotions to Make You a Better Driver

"Cut that guy off!" "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 12.23.29 PM

In the latest development in condescending technology, a facial recognition system is in the works to allow your car to detect when you’re upset and try to curb dangerous road rage driving habits. You know, as long is it doesn’t cause a vicious cycle where it slows down because you’re mad, and you start yelling, “Don’t you patronize me!”

Écol Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne (EFPL) researchers working with PSA Peugeot Citroen have developed an on-board emotion sensor to be used in cars. Deciphering emotions can be difficult for machines, because everyone expresses them differently. Where you might be more the angry-faced, punch-the-steering-wheel type, someone else might go the whole creepy-deadpan-death-stare route. Since we don’t all turn into giant green rage monsters, figuring out what a person’s anger-tell is can be difficult.

Facial recognition technology has come a long way in being able to identify the seven basic emotions of fear, anger, joy, sadness, disgust, surprise, or suspicion, which is pretty impressive when you consider that the only emotion the machines detecting them can feel is “kill all the humans.”

For the purposes of road rage avoidance, the researchers chose to focus on getting their system to identify anger and disgust specifically. If you don’t understand why someone would be disgusted while driving, you’ve apparently never lived in New Jersey and had to deal with the inventively rude driving habits here.

In their tests, the facial recognition system viewed videos and images of test subjects displaying those emotions, and then it was tested to see if it could identify them on its own. I’m not sure how they made the test subjects angry or disgusted, but I’m guessing it had to do with a complete lack of blinker use and an inability to understand the concept of merging lanes.

The researchers say that they’ve already got it identifying emotions about as well as they can expect, because there will always be variance in the way people express their anger. Their next step is to plan what it should do in a road rage situation. When you’ve got a passenger in the car with you who’s noticed you’re angry, the human contact and self consciousness help to keep people in check, but your AI-equipped futuremobile will need to come up with other ways to calm you down.

If they had it distract me by picking on my silly human emotions in GLaDOS’s voice, that’d probably work. And, if it didn’t, it could just flood the car with deadly neurotoxin until I comply. The future is going to be fun.

(Phys.org via Gizmodo, image Tracktec via on YouTube)

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