AI mood detection tech could be used to reduce driver stress

26 Jul 2019

Image: Jaguar Land Rover/PA Media

An AI system has been designed to adjust in-car features such as heating and ventilation in response to a driver’s facial expressions.

British car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover is working on artificial intelligence that is able to detect a driver’s mood and adjust a car’s environment to reduce stress.

The firm has developed a mood detection system, using a driver-facing camera and biometric sensors to monitor the person behind the steering wheel, which is able to alter cabin features such as heating and ventilation in response to their facial expressions.

Media and ambient lighting will also be adapted in a bid to calm the driver during tense moments on the road.

“As we move towards a self-driving future, the emphasis for us remains as much on the driver as it ever has,” said Dr Steve Iley, Jaguar Land Rover chief medical officer.

“By taking a holistic approach to the individual driver, and implementing much of what we’ve learnt from the advances in research around personal wellbeing over the last 10 or 15 years, we can make sure our customers remain comfortable, engaged and alert behind the wheel in all driving scenarios, even monotonous motorway journeys.”

The company is hoping to expand the system in the future with more tailored comforts by enabling the AI to learn the driver’s preferences, meaning it can make more personalised changes such as starting a favourite playlist if signs of weariness are identified.

A person's hands holding the steering wheel of a Jaguar Land Rover vehicle.

Image: Jaguar Land Rover

Tests to bring similar technology to rear passengers are underway too, using a camera attached to the headrest, which could dim the lights, tint windows and increase the temperature in the back of the car if tired expressions are detected on passenger faces.

Mood detection is part of a wider effort by Jaguar Land Rover to improve the driving experience, aiming to create a sanctuary environment inside each of its luxury vehicles away from the hectic roads outside.

Jaguar Land Rover recently confirmed that it is to build a range of electric cars in the UK, safeguarding thousands of jobs and delivering a huge boost to the industry after a series of setbacks in recent months.

Investment will be made at the firm’s UK factories in Castle Bromwich and West Midlands, with other sites and supply companies benefiting from the development.

An all-electric version of the Jaguar XJ sedan replacement will be the first new battery-powered vehicle, and will eventually be followed by others.

PA Media