Fiction is one step closer to reality.
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.
UPDATE: March 18 -- A representative from EPFL told The Huffington Post that the research will continue on the in-car emotion detector. The technology will be displayed in a demonstration vehicle in April. EPFL researchers predict that "adaptive assistance" technology, like the emotion detector, will be introduced to the market before the year 2020.