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In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

Posted April 04, 2014 8:43 AM by Jordan Perch

Facial expression analysis software has been used extensively in various fields, primarily in marketing and medicine, to measure a person's sentiment and use the feedback to change the approach when trying to sell a certain product to a customer, or for assessment of pain in patients. Additionally, it can also help improve traffic safety, since it can detect driver drowsiness and prevent crashes caused by fatigued drivers. There are a few other ways that this technology can enhance driver safety, as it has the ability to recognize the universal facial expressions of emotion - surprise, fear, sadness, disgust, anger, joy, and contempt, and it's a fact that emotions have a significant effect on a person's driving abilities.

The impact of specific emotions on people's driving skills is exactly what a team of researchers from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) wanted to investigate, so they have partnered up with PSA Peugeot Citroen to develop an emotion detector that can be mounted on a car's dashboard and measure drivers' emotions. Their system employs an infrared camera that is attached behind the steering wheel, that monitors the driver's face at all times, tracking specific movements of the musculature of the face, which can reveal what emotion the driver is feeling at a given moment.

Hua Gao and Anil YĆ¼ce, who led the research, found that it was very difficult to determine when a driver is irritated, because each person expresses this feeling in a different way, so they decided to focus on two emotions that can be easily identified: anger and disgust. Based on the movements of a driver's eyes, nose and mouth, the software can detect when they are feeling angry or disgusted, which indicates that they are under stress and they are at risk of overreacting in a certain driving situation, leading to road rage, which is one of the most common causes of car accidents. If the system determines that you are angry or disgusted, it informs you that you have the symptoms of road rage. In this case, you should pull over to the side of the road and take a couple of minutes to calm down.

Hopefully, as the technology develops further, it will be able to connect with cars' steering and braking system, so that it can apply the brakes for you in case it detects you are driving too aggressively and you are about to hit the vehicle in front of you, or prevent you from making a sharp turn and drift away from your lane.

In the future, the system is likely to be updated, so that it can detect driver distraction, looking for signs that indicate that a driver has taken his/her eyes off the road, as well as signs of fatigue, by measuring the percentage of eyelid closure.

The findings from this research can be very useful to developers of semi-autonomous vehicles, which can use this type of software to help cars identify the emotional state of the driver and decide whether they should perform the most important driving tasks or allow the driver to continue operating the vehicle.

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#1

Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/04/2014 10:20 AM

"Funny, every time our customer looked at the dash the emotion went from neutral to disgust."

"Must be a software problem."

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#2

Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/04/2014 12:25 PM

One size fits all for human facial expression? ...what a ridiculous notion...

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#3
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Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/04/2014 1:34 PM

< ---- Yea no kidding but at least it can't tell the difference between being happy and psychotically happy!

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Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/05/2014 5:33 AM

While there are a variety of facial expressions and there are many cultural and individual differences, humans are hard wired to display and understand certain basic facial gestures. It is a major first mode of communication as an infant and those instinctual facial expressions are effectively universal and stay with us for life.

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We tend to get more adept at limiting our initial genuine emotional display as we grow up. Culturally approved expressions are mapped over our genuine response, but almost everyone expresses strong emotions at the outset briefly in what is know as a micro-gesture. Being mindful and carefully observing (preferably without cluing the other person into the fact that they are receiving additional scrutiny) a persons initial brief facial response to new information likely to elicit a strong emotional response can provide more information than the words that follow as they attempt to verbally communicated their reaction.

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Happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, contempt and disgust are universally displayed as distinct brief facial expressions. All off those things are important things for survival to communicate rapidly and unambiguously, whether you are an infant or a clan member.

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Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/05/2014 6:00 AM
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Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/07/2014 2:38 PM

On the bright side, it could improve your poker game!

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#4

Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/05/2014 12:08 AM

Main reasons for accidents are drowsiness due to lack of sleep and poor mental coordination due excessive alcohol or drug consumption by the driver. Automatic slowing and application of brakes when the sensor unable to detect the pupil of the eye for more than 2 seconds( due to closer of eye lids). But need to explore ways for tackling later problem especially when drugs are used.

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Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/05/2014 7:48 AM

Cheaper and safer to not drive impaired.

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#8

Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/05/2014 11:09 AM

I would think a robotic back seat driver would be more likely to induce road rage.

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Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/05/2014 11:30 AM

Well, yeah. Why would they put them in the back seat anyway....where they don't have a clear view of the road and where the driver will have a hard time keeping an eye on what they are actually up to?

Call it typical element-ist discrimination, if you like, but I don't want a silicon based life form looking over my shoulder trying to tell me how to improve my driving. Put them in the front seat! They don't need to be taking up the safer spaces usually reserved for those in child car seats.

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Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/05/2014 11:54 AM

Called Bitchin' Betty in the cockpit.

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#11

Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/05/2014 5:59 PM

So what about those women who suffer from Bitchy Resting Face ?

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Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/05/2014 6:53 PM

...and the men with asshole resting face....?

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#13
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Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/05/2014 7:57 PM

Well that could very well mean that 2/3's of the members here will never drive again.

Or is it just the personality they have and their looks are fine?

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#14
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Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/05/2014 8:05 PM

Starts at the skin and goes through to the core mate, or viceversa...

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#15

Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/05/2014 8:19 PM

I'm not too sure how well emotion detectors would work here.

One drives in a constant state of threat and peril.

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Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/06/2014 1:01 AM

I suspect those drivers are on average far more skilled than the average driver in the west, and far more alert and aware of their surroundings as well.

.

I wonder what a comparison of serious accident per vehicle mile for similar traffic density would look like?

.

If the reduction in serious accidents brought about by switching to traffic circles is any indication, as chaotic as it looks, there may be huge advantages to expecting people to wield some of that awesome processing power on a regular basis and wield a little less of that desire to be told exactly what to do.

.

The real truth is, where ever in the world you drive on public roads, when you drive you are in a constant state of threat and peril, both from others towards you and from you towards others. I'm not sure that using a system of rules that is so rigid that we easily loose track of that fact is necessarily a good thing.

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Re: In-car Emotion Detectors to Improve Road Safety

04/06/2014 1:19 AM

I suspect those drivers are on average far more skilled than the average driver in the west, and far more alert and aware of their surroundings as well.

Probably more skilled due to the chaos one has to negotiate or muscle through (bull bar with a winch on it makes others give way)....aware, most likely as every front door is an intersection.

Problem, the way I see it, is that folk here drive their cars now the same way they used to pilot their motos...dodging and weaving...

Then there are those who believe they have a sense of entitlement....normally gov types in Lexii , who believe that good traffic conduct is for everybody else.

The use of indicators here is pretty good...better than LA from my experience.. and they will let you in or cut across their path.

Then there's driving on the highways...something else again. Buffaloes are the same colour as the road.....

The PM here summed it up once by saying that the roads are Cambodia's new Killing Fields.

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