Manufacturers and technology companies have been on the decade long race towards launching the next big thing in the automotive industry, creating a fully-autonomous vehicle that is self-driving.
Though the idea seems to just be a fantasy back in 1939 at GM's Futurama World's Fair, with the advancement that has been happening, today's society is not shy to discuss the possibility of sharing the road with self-driving car.
However one of the biggest hurdle on the journey to full adoption of autonomous car is legal technicalities; concerns such as liability attribution, reliability and others have dragged the adaptiation of autonomous vehicle.
Though, Nevada opened its road to autonomous vehicle back in 2011 other countries have not been as daring in allowing autonomous vehicle.
However, with the stunted adaptation of autonomous vehicle, maybe it's useful to ask, is there something exciting in the automotive industry that is coming in the near future that could help push towards adoption of autonomous vehicle?
VentureBeat, pushed an exciting idea of emotionally intelligent cars as the stepping stone. Today's technological advancement has increased human-machine interaction through the use of various sensors, voice recognition and other technologies, which collectivelly categorized under the term Internet of Things (IoT).
With increasing versatility of the idea behind IoT, it is possible to create an artificially intelligent (AI) vehicle that is emotionaly aware resulting in safer driving and safer road.
The greatest compelling argument for emotionally aware vehicle would be the ability to remove human emotional fluctuations that may affect the driver's ability to maintain safe and courteous driving behavior.
In Singapore, road rage is a prevalent issue; in 2016 alone, between month of May to August, the court sentenced one person each month due to road rage cases. An emotionally aware vehicle would be able to monitor driver's emotion and address safety concerns related to the fluctuating emotions.
By monitoring facial expression, heart beat and other measures, AI vehicle would be able to deduce the emotion of the driver, implementing necessary steps to counteract any actions that may compromise safety of the driver and the road.
For example, in the case of road rage, by picking up on increasing heart rate, irregular acceleration, sudden breaks and frowning facial features, the vehicle could adjust the driving experience, by playing soothing music, monitoring the speed limit, locking the door and other measures to prevent and maintain a pleasant driving experience.
Another safety benefits of having an emotionally aware AI vehicle would be the ability to reduce accidents due to fatigue or distracted driver. In 2015, the number one reason for accident was failure to keep a proper look out resulting in 2,580 injuries and 57 fatalities in one year.
For instance, an AI vehicle could keep track of eye movement of the driver; the vehicle would be able to indicate when the driver is asleep or distracted.
Aided by the advancement of collision sensors and self-driving program, the vehicle would be able to take actions to prevent accidents, such as slowing down of speed, driving to the side of the road and stopping, playing loud music to keep the driver awake, and others would surely improve the statistics.
In the case of accident, vehicle equipped with IoT features would take fast and correct response to address the accident. Upon collision the vehicle would be able to rapidly send alerts to the correct authority. This would be highly useful during non-peak period where accidents may not be reported by passerbys, a mere minutes would make a difference in some cases.
AI vehicle would act as a co-driver, providing less risk for drivers with histories of heart problems and other medical conditions. They could rely on the vehicle to take corrective actions upon unforseeable conditions: driving to the side of the road, and calling for ambulance.
Now as self-driving and advanced vehicle is charging in fast, creating a connection between vehicle and the driver is crucial in optimizing safety of the driver and the road. Together with the race towards self-driving vehicle, an emotionally aware vehicle would change the driving experience; AI would transform a mere vehicle into a personal driving assistant that understands your taste in music, driving style and medical histories creating a safer and more personalised driving experience.