For some of us it is impossible not to be consumed by road rage. It is actually quite easy to get frustrated by someone on the road, and that rage could translate into a loss of attention or rapid aggression, which could result into an unfortunate incident. To potentially make driving safer, folks at the EPFL Signal Processing 5 Laboratory have developed an in-car emotion detector that will prompt drivers whenever they exhibit signs of road rage.
The system employs highly accurate algorithms that keep an eye on the driver’s facial expressions. It can also be used to measure fatigue behind the wheel, to ensure that drivers are not in control of a car while they’re extremely tired, it can do that by measuring percentage of eyelid closure. If the system finds that the driver is too tired, it can prompt them to take a break.
It tracks seven emotions: fear, anger, joy, sadness, disgust, surprise and suspicion through an infrared camera that’s placed behind the steering wheel. These emotions have specific muscle movements thus making it easy for the system to tell them apart. If it picks up anger or disgust for a certain period of time, it comes to the conclusion that the driver is stressed out. Since the system is just a prototype at this stage, it doesn’t do much other than prompt the driver. The possibility exists that the production version could be able to do a lot more, it could probably apply brakes on its own if it senses that the driver is tailgating the car in front.