Swiss scientists have announced that they have devised a new dashboard emotion detector that is able to search a driver’s face for signs of emotion, aiming to predict and prevent a road rage incident before it happens.
Researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland said they hope to improve safety on the roads by releasing the system – which purports to identify fear, anger, joy, sadness, disgust, surprise, or suspicion – to the public.
“We know that in addition to fatigue, the emotional state of the driver is a risk factor,” they said, as quoted by Sarah Griffiths of the Daily Mail. “Irritation, in particular, can make drivers more aggressive and less attentive.”
One of the most challenging aspects of the project was installing a new piece of equipment in the already-crowded dashboard without presenting an entirely new risk to the driver. They were able to place and infrared camera behind the steering wheel, making it possible for a small computer to analyze how an individual contorts his or her face, and then compare that expression to what the device already “knows” about different emotions.