Artificial Intelligence Emotion AI AI Automotive

Emotion AI in Automotive: A World of Possibilities


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The 2017 Emotion AI Summit hosted by Affectiva brought the autonomous vehicle as one of the many thought-provoking topics in which Emotion AI is used today. The panel session entitled “Redefining the User Experience in Next Generation Vehicles” was moderated by Dave Gershgorn, AI Reporter at Quartz. Panelists included Lex Fridman, Ph.D. and MIT Researcher, Sanford Russell, Senior Director of Autonomous Driving Ecosystems, North America NVIDIA, and Dawei Shen, Co-founder and CTO of Waylens.

There are many obstacles that developers of self-driving cars must overcome. Challenges include sensors, machine learning, real-time data analysis and reaction times, and there is definitely a lot of excitement around all the existing possibilities regarding Emotion AI in the automotive industry coming from the experts in Boston (including Affectiva!) The following are some insights from these panelists regarding AI’s most important contributions to the automotive industry:


Working with real vehicles means working to fix real problems. There are nearly 1.3 million road fatalities each year. It is a number that Lex Fridman is obsessed about and working towards decreasing it everyday. Smart cars can already detect subtle movements of the pedals and steering wheel, which is the start part of drowsiness detection. Emotion AI can not only capture where is the driver looking - on-road or off-road - but also body pose and the full visual aspect and behavior of the driver. Thus, AI has the capability of determining the depth of human state and attention while driving. To be able to have that type of information is to provide and maintain safety. (Read more on how this works in this Huffington Post article.


Sanford Russell has always been drawn to hard problems and feels that the man landing on the moon is a long-gone easy problem when compared to self-driving cars. Indeed, self-driving vehicles are one of the most challenging projects people have ever faced. There are so many dimensions to it, so many exciting possibilities, so many challenges to be overcome, and so many people currently working on it to become a reality. Emotion AI is without a doubt contributing for this technology to take form in the automotive industry in a very short period of time. Besides trying to provide the best in-car experience with emotion awareness and an unique driver’s personalized profile, Emotion AI can help control the operation of the vehicle or to determine when to introduce hints to counter the emotion stress of drivers.


When starting Waylens in 2014, Dawei Shen was frustrated with the incomplete auto-parts being served in the market. All they wished was that the car ride could be a bit more fun, more social, more secure and a more intelligent and autonomous space for the drivers. In order to make all these car features a reality, building vision through cameras and Emotion AI for the next generation of vehicles is essential from a manufacturing and aftermarket product perspective. The areas of safety, data collection, automation, and enhanced personalized consumer experience will all benefit from it in the near future.

Emotion AI in the automotive industry will only expand from here. Yes, there are still a lot of challenges and obstacles to be overcome before providing the best in-cab experience of our lives. However, like Affectiva, there are a lot of excited and motivated companies working at a high pace towards delivering a completely safe, automated,personalized, and emotional intelligent next generation of vehicles.

Interested in learning more about the importance of driver state monitoring? Access the Future of Mobility Webcast recording here, “The Future of Mobility: Trends and Opportunities for the Next Generation of Vehicles."

Bryan Reimer Webcast Recording


Artificial Intelligence Emotion AI AI Automotive