Cars will learn to understand the emotions of drivers

The cause of irritability which is expressed inaggression, can be both psychological and physical fatigue. This is a dangerous source of distraction on the road. The Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne has developed an onboard emotion recognition system for facial expressions. Tests on the prototype showed that this idea can have a very interesting perspective.

Modern technologies allow reading in the face,revealing seven emotions that are universal for all people, such as fear, anger, joy, sadness, disgust, surprise and contempt. This knowledge can be used in video games, medicine, advertising, and possibly in cars. As you know, in addition to fatigue, another risk factor is the emotional state of the driver.

How to measure the emotions of the driver

It must be admitted that measuring emotions is not easy,especially in the contactless way. Specialists of the signal processing laboratory have adapted the face recognition system for use in automobiles. The device relies on an infrared camera placed behind the steering wheel.

The main problem encounteredthe developers, is to make the device recognize irritability by mimic facial changes. For each driver, this is expressed differently - for one, the facial muscles are twitching, the second one is cursing, the third is trying to hide emotions behind an impassive face. To simplify the task at this stage of the project, the researchers decided to track only two feelings: anger and disgust.

The study went through two phases. First, the system “learned” to identify emotions from a series of photographs of people with different facial expressions, then trained on the same emotional videos. Training materials reflect real life situations, including in the car. The speed of performing the comparison of read emotions with samples depended on the methods of analysis used. But in general, the system worked well and in most cases accurately determined the attacks of irritability.

Something went wrong?

Not without failures tests. But most often this happened due to a very changeable state of the individual. It should be understood that the complexity of the problem lies in the emotional individuality.

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Scientists are planning additionala study that will improve the system, complementing it with more advanced algorithms and a human-machine interface. Recognizing emotions is only a small part of the effort to improve safety and driving comfort. Already, in modern cars there is a driver fatigue control system: it monitors the physical condition of the driver and if it detects certain deviations, it warns about the need to stop and rest. Such systems are built on controlling the actions of the driver, controlling the movement of the car and controlling the driver’s gaze. For example, if a car starts wagging from side to side, the system signals the need to stop.

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