News Story: Empathic Technology Showcase Reveals a Car That Knows How You Feel

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BELFAST, Northern Ireland, May 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A vehicle cabin that can respond automatically to passengers' emotions was revealed at the Viva Technology conference in Paris last week. The demonstration, which shows how new vehicles will interact 'empathically' with their occupants, comes from Valeo, a global automotive supplier, working in partnership with Sensum, an 'empathic AI' startup.

Valeo Smart Cocoon Demo Video
Teaser video of the Smart Cocoon demo with Valeo: https://www.valeo.com/en/valeo-smart-cocoon/

The vehicle cabin senses passengers' emotions and responds in various ways to create a customised 'comfort bubble'. Valeo partnered with Sensum to develop an onboard evaluation system to interact more effectively with passengers and understand their needs. The system addresses safety (by monitoring fatigue and distraction levels), as well as comfort and wellbeing (by calming and energising). Leveraging artificial intelligence based on various sensors in the vehicle cabin, the Valeo system measures each passenger's physiological and emotional profile to provide them with a customised and multisensory comfort bubble, adjusting light, fragrances, sounds and thermal sensations.

The cabin uses Sensum's 'empathic AI' technology to process data from sensors that detect subtle changes in a person's physiology. Sensum analyses these changes for signals of emotions and other cognitive states, such as stress, fatigue or distraction. This information can be used to help machines interact with humans more empathically, by measuring their feelings and responding appropriately. Sensum is applying its empathic AI not just to technology for vehicles but also for consumer electronics, media and experiences, as well as performance and wellbeing.

As the cost of both sensors and computing power continues to fall, the automotive industry is now working to incorporate empathic AI into its forthcoming vehicles. This could lead to various new features. Safety precautions could be triggered when the vehicle detects that the driver is in a potentially dangerous state like intoxication, distraction or tiredness. Comfort, service and entertainment features could be triggered in response to other states such as stress, anger or frustration.

Here's a little teaser for more about our work with Valeo: https://www.valeo.com/en/valeo-smart-cocoon/

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Ben Bland

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