Apr. 27 - An algorithm-based emotion detector designed to keep drivers calm and alert is being developed by scientists at Swiss technology institute EPFL. The team is working alongside car manufacturers PSA Peugeot Citroen to develop the system, which will send an alert when it detects fatigue or signs of anger in a driver's face. Jim Drury has more.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**PART MUST ONSCREEN COURTESY 'PSA PEUGEOT CITROEN' Professor Jean-Philippe Thiran hasn't lost his mind.....he's testing out an emotion detector that could one day help control road rage and liven up drowsy drivers. SOUNDBITE (English) PROFESSOR JEAN-PHILIPPE THIRAN, OF EPFL, P2S PLATFORM SUPERVISOR, SAYING: "Basically we have this camera, this series of lights, and then at the back we have a computer analysing the video on real time.....The first difficulty really is the light conditions, to cope with those we choose to have an infrared camera which is sensitive in the infrared and have infrared lighting, so we get rid of the problem of illumination and so we can work over day or overnight without any problem." The detector is positioned on the dashboard, behind the steering wheel. It's the result of a joint project between Swiss technology institute EPFL and auto makers PSA Peugeot Citroen. Researchers developed an algorithm that taught the detector to identify emotions in photographs before testing their real-time accuracy on stationary volunteers inside a demo car. Tests showed 85 percent accuracy in spotting driver irritation by measuring key points on the face. Similar success in pinponting drowsiness was achieved by monitoring eyelid movement. The car-makers are now developing an alert system that could be incorporated in future models. SOUNDBITE (English) PROFESSOR JEAN-PHILIPPE THIRAN, OF EPFL, P2S PLATFORM SUPERVISOR, SAYING: "If the camera detects that the driver is tired, he's getting sleepy, then the car might start energetic music or change the light of the dashboard to make it more aggressive. On the contrary, if the driver is stressed then the car should, for instance, start calm music or a soft light to really calm the driver." Olivier Pajot runs the emotion detecting collaboration group, Stellab. He says the detector could be a bridge towards the development of fully autonomous cars. SOUNDBITE (English) OLIVIER PAJOT, GENERAL MANAGER OF STELLAB, EPFL-PSA PEUGEOT CITROEN COLLABORATION, SAYING: "One of the intermediate steps is a partially autonomous vehicle. That means that the vehicle will be able to drive by itself but will still need some supervision by the driver, and in order to achieve that we will need to monitor the driver and this is the main reason for this project." The group is refining the technology by updating their database of emotions to improve detection rates. They hope eventually to produce a system for all vehicles, that greatly reduces the dangers of driving.