Tech giants, automakers, startups, analysts and journalists converged at the annual GPU Technology Conference, hosted by Nvidia this week in San Jose, Calif., to discuss one of the biggest technology trends: the rise of artificial intelligence.
As self-driving technology has advanced over the past few years, AI has taken on a bigger role in the car — from avoiding accidents to providing real-time navigation to monitoring the emotional state of the driver.
Affectiva is one of the startups that discussed new uses of AI in vehicles. It started as a company spun out of the MIT Media Lab that analyzed viewers' emotional reactions to TV programs. Now it's working with automakers to assess drivers' emotions using interior cameras — with driver permission.
It may seem odd to have your car taking your psychological temperature, but the ability to track emotions has a number of uses. In semiautonomous vehicles, it can monitor driver distraction, whether a driver is fully unaware (asleep at the wheel) or mildly distracted (eating or putting on makeup) and call the driver's attention back to the road. In fully self-driving cars, it can tell how riders react to different driving styles and adjust accordingly. The technology is used for market research and app development, and we'll likely see more of these unusual approaches to in-car technology as the world of self-driving cars expands.
— Katie Burke