The friendly dashboard robo that can make driving a pleasure

October 31st, 2009 - 12:37 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Oct 31 (ANI): Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a robot that is sensitive to driver’s moods and habits, and can revolutionise the way you interact with your car.

The Affective Intelligent Driving Agent, or AIDA is a dashboard-mounted robotic device with a laser projector, which can create human-like gestures and convey subtle signals.

For instance, a downturned face with pleading eyes indicates AIDA is “worried” because the driver has failed to buckle the safety belt.

Lead researcher Mikey Siegel, from MIT Media Lab, who is working in collaboration with Audi to design AIDA, said existing cars communicate the same reminder via a buzzer that is designed to be annoying.

“That’s the worst possible way to get a person to do something,” New Scientist quoted Siegel as saying.

The hope is that with AIDA a driver will buckle up to avoid making the car “feel bad”.

The device also contains sensors inside and outside the car to pick up clues about the driver’s state of mind: grip strength and skin-conductivity sensors in the steering wheel.

It can tell when the driver is tense. AIDA also uses GPS logs of a driver’s travels to learn favourite locations and suggest better routes.

Carmaker Nissan and electronics-for-entertainment company Pioneer seem impressed by the novel concept and are also working on dash-mounted robotic sidekicks.

Siegel hopes these robots will feel more like passengers than gadgets.

“Having a passenger in the car is not considered unsafe, but checking text messages is very unsafe,” he said. (ANI)

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