Monday, 09 Nov, 2009 Technology

Latest Invention: In-car Personal Robot That Learns Driver's Habits


The new invention of MIT researchers is the Affective Intelligent Driving Agent (AIDA), which represents an in-car personal robot. With their new invention scientists hope to change the usual way drivers interact with their vehicles. To develop the robot, a group of researchers from the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab teamed up with MIT's SENSEable City Lab and the Volkswagen Group of America's Electronics Research Lab.

The goal of researchers was to create a personal assistant that would learn about a driver's behavior in an environment and offer suggestions according to the collected data. According to Professor Carlo Ratti, director of the SENSEable City Lab, they wanted to create a system able to provide information like an "informed and friendly companion." The new system interacts with the driver via a small robot incorporated in the car's dashboard.

Professor Cynthia Breazeal, director of the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab, says AIDA can analyze the driver's mood from his or her facial expressions and react in a "socially appropriate and informative way." The new invention communicates by giving smiles or blinking its eyes that appear on the robot's screen. In order to recognize the set of goals that the driver looks forward to achieve, the system evaluates the mobility model of the driver, registering common routes and destinations. The system builds its own understanding of the city, integrating real-time event data regarding the environmental conditions, along with commercial activity, different tourist attractions, and uptown areas.

Assaf Biderman, associate director of the SENSEable City Lab, says that after AIDA has collected enough knowledge about driver's needs and priorities, it is able to make significant interferences. In just one week the system will learn about the driver's home and work location. After that AIDA will be able to guide the driver to the nearest grocery story, offering a route to dodge traffic jams.

Biderman adds: "AIDA can also give you feedback on your driving, helping you achieve more energy efficiency and safer behavior." It is worth mentioning that the new invention was created in partnership with Audi and the Volkswagen Group of America's Electronics Research Lab. The group of scientists behind the system is managed by Professor Cynthia Breazeal, Carlo Ratti, and Assaf Biderman.

Posted by Maxriter

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