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Kia gets emotionally involved in driving at CES

READ system analyzes driver’s emotional state using bio-signal recognition

Published: December 20, 2018, 9:40 PM
Updated: December 31, 2018, 3:06 AM

driving emotion testing

As the automotive world gets set to drive into the autonomous driving age, Kia is looking beyond it to a time when autonomous driving is the norm and more attention is paid to the human mobility experience.

Kia emotive driving display

With its “Space of Emotive Driving” display at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Kia will be demonstrating the READ System (for Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving), the world’s first automotive technology using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to control cabin environment based on occupants’ emotions. READ was developed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The company says the system can analyze the driver’s emotional state in real time, which to us seems a bit short sighted, seeing as it takes place in a post-autonomous future (presumably where drivers are no longer required). Anyway, READ analyzes the driver’s emotional state through AI-based bio-signal recognition technology, and then tailors the cabin environment in relation to the human senses.

Kia emotive driving display

We assume that means releasing scents or sounds into the cabin to positively influence emotions — lavender for a calming environment, or white noise to diffuse tension caused by harsh outside sounds — though the company has not effectively explained the technology.

“We have developed READ System to create an interactive future mobility in-cabin space by converging cutting edge vehicle control technology and AI-based emotional intelligence,” Albert Biermann, President and Head of Research & Development Division of Kia Motors. “R.E.A.D. System will enable continuous communication between drivers and vehicles through the unspoken language of ‘emotional feeling’, thereby providing an optimized human senses-oriented space for drivers in real-time.”

Even a promotional video doesn’t shed much light on how the system makes driving more enjoyable, other than the apparent ability to go where few cars have gone before (at least willingly).

The Kia display at CES 2019 will include other in-car and mobility technologies around the “emotive driving” theme to create “a more joyful mobility experience,” though Kia has not released any further details.