Aptiv Partners with Startup on AI-Based Driver Sensors

January 03, 2019 at 6:03 PM

Aptiv plc has signed a partnership agreement with Affectiva Inc., a Boston-based startup that specializes in artificial intelligence, to develop and commercialize advanced driver sensors.

As part of the deal, Aptiv has made an unspecified minority investment in Affectiva. The latter company was formed in 2009 as a spinoff from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab.

The companies plan to integrate Affectiva’s deep learning-based software into Aptiv’s connected vehicle platform to better monitor, analyze and predict driver behavior and emotional/cognitive state. This will help improve driving safety and the in-vehicle experience, the partners assert.

Aptiv, which was spun off from Delphi Technologies in late 2017, notes that this helps indicate driver readiness. The company says its sensing technology can measure subtle changes in eye movement and facial expression that indicate driver readiness.

Affectiva says its system uses computer vision, speech analytics, deep learning and big data. To build its database, the company has analyzed more than 7.5 million faces in 87 countries and collects “spontaneous” driver and occupant data to fine tune algorithms.

The patented human perception software is designed to classify occupant emotions in real time based on face and voice patterns (tone, tempo, loudness and pauses). Using cameras and microphones, the system analyzes facial and vocal expressions to identify expressions, emotion and reactions of vehicle occupants.

In addition to driver fatigue and distraction, the system can identify joy, anger and surprise (frustration/confusion). Analysis of the data can be used to trigger driver alerts or alter in-vehicle settings, such as playing soothing music and/or prompting a person to take a deep breath if he or she exhibits angry behavior.

In addition to Aptiv, Affectiva is working with BMW, Porsche, Veoneer (formerly part of Autoliv), Nvidia and Wind River.