MIT, a school best known for not accepting me despite two super-sweet essays and several threatening phone calls, is now developing a robot companion for drivers. Why? Because we need more distractions in the car.
AIDA (Affective Intelligent Driving Agent) communicates with the driver via a small, sociable robot built into the dashboard. The idea is to develop an informed and friendly passenger, the buddy perpetually riding shotgun who aside from reading the map and helping with navigation, acts as a companion. As such, AIDA is being developed to read drivers' moods via their facial expressions and other cues (hand gestures?) and respond to them in the proper social context. It communicates back in very human ways as well: with a smile, the blink of an eye, the drooping of its head.
AIDA analyzes the driver's mobility patterns, common routes and destinations, and driving habits. It then merges its knowledge of the driver with its knowledge of the city around it, mashing up the drivers priorities and needs with real-time information on everything from tourist attractions to environmental conditions to commercial activity to help the driver make better decisions.
Yeah, but can he take the wheel? Because what good is a robot in the car if it can't drive you home? I don't need a friend in the car THAT'S WHY WE HAVE TEXTING, am I right? No, I'm dead wrong. Literally: DEAD. WRONG. Don't text and drive.
This message brought to you by the GW and everyone else who agrees that you already suck at driving bad enough without another distraction.
Thanks to Jeff, tom and Kristi, who just get lost and play 'I Spy' with themselves in the car like normal people.