Belfast-based Sensum is at the forefront of developing technology to make the roads safer by creating cars that can empathize with how a driver is feeling. The company is working on a concept car with Ford that uses sensors to track its driver’s emotions and create external visuals, based on those feelings.
Dr Cavan Fyans, 33, chief technology officer at Sensum, explained the purpose of the experiment: “One side of this project is research into how people emotionally respond when they’re driving. The other is the promotional, fun side to create a concept car.” He also stated that the technology can be further utilized to make the roads a safer place.
When the car is turned off it just looks like a standard Ford Focus RS. Once the system is running there are visualizations on the exterior created by 200,000 LED lights which change as the driver’s emotions change..
With the new self-driving cars it would mean the car can be empathetic to how the human is feeling and react accordingly. For example if the person is stressed, the car might take over a bit of control from them or change the environment in the cockpit. Or if someone is having a medical episode, the car can pull over safely and call an ambulance.