Driving can be a joyful experience, but it can be incredibly unsafe to operate a vehicle when angry, upset, or tired. Drowsiness, illness, and extreme emotions can affect your ability to operate your vehicle with care and caution, and accidents can and do happen as a result.
That might all be changing. Soon, smart car safety technology may be able to detect these potential problems and keep you safe while on the road. According to recent reports, Toyota and several other car makers are developing artificial intelligence (AI) that will read your emotions and respond to those emotional needs. Through multiple data points, which include cameras that read facial expressions, driving habits, and social media use, your car will analyze how you are feeling.
While that may seem intrusive to some, Toyota is confident drivers will respond well to this evolution of its AI, especially since the experience of driving will be improved through this feature. If the driver is stressed or anxious, for instance, the car may adjust their seat to a more comfortable position. If the driver is tired, the seat may gently shake them to help wake them up. If the driver is hungry, it may suggest a stop at a nearby restaurant.
These technological advances are designed not just to make the driving experience more enjoyable, but safer too. If a driver feels less stressed, less tired, or less hungry, they are more attentive on the road, and the number of crashes is likely to go down.
Toyota promises that its Concept-I — named for “ai,” which means “love” in Japanese, as well as “I” in English — will be able to address all these issues and more. The more includes self-driving, according to Futurism, which will radically change the driving experience, making it safer as well as more comfortable.
Like most other car companies, Toyota is investing a great deal in what is seen as the future of personal transportation: the self-driving automobile. According to Toyota’s general manager of EV business planning, Makota Okabe, the company’s vision is not just to develop a car that drives itself but also one that can develop a relationship with the driver.
“By using AI technology,” he says, “we want to expand and enhance the driving experience, making cars an object of affection again.”
Of course, this is not just the vision of Toyota. In fact, many of the top car manufacturers in the world are following a similar path. Honda is also investigating how emotions affect drivers. The company has developed an Emotion Engine for its AI in partnership with Softbank. The Emotion Engine is designed to perk up the driver by speaking in a cheerful voice when conveying information like the weather. General Motors is yet another company with investments in AI. Ford already has its own AI, called Argo, and is looking into how it will work in conjunction with its first self-driving vehicle that is planned to be launched in 2021.
All of this can feel very futuristic from where drivers stand (or sit) today. So far, AI has done little more than alert drivers who drift out of their lane or apply the brakes when the driver isn’t paying attention. The idea of a fully automatic vehicle that requires little to no actual driving from the driver still seems like the stuff of science fiction or the very distant future.
However, car companies disagree with that assessment. In fact, Toyota, like Ford, has an ambitious date set to begin testing its new Concept-i technology. It intends to be ready for road tests by 2020.
Safety Remains the Drivers’ Responsibility Despite New Technology
No matter how automated vehicles become, it is likely there will always be a level of responsibility that falls directly on the driver. A car may learn to operate independently, but it will still be your responsibility to make sure you are taking some safety precautions on every drive and maintaining the functionality of your vehicle. For example, some autonomy is likely to be left for those in the vehicle to choose how safe they want to make themselves.
It is yet to be seen exactly what driver-based responsibilities will remain in the hands of the person behind the wheel, assuming a wheel remains in the car at all. However, it is likely that some amount of the driver’s preferences, such as speed and aggressiveness, may still be responsible for how the AI operates. Thus, more dangerous driving may still be possible, and it will be the driver’s responsibility to use whatever power they have in the car to allow the vehicle to function as safely as possible.
Beyond these in-car responsibilities, those who own cars will be responsible as always for maintenance. While AI may develop to the point where it can tell a driver what is not functioning properly or what needs replacing, such as the oil or a tire, it will still be the driver’s responsibility to perform the necessary tasks to keep the car safe.
While a utopian vision of AI-operated, self-driving cars envisions a world without accidents, these few remaining openings for human or machine error ensure that accidents, even smart car accidents, are still likely to occur. They may be less frequent, but it is unlikely that they will disappear from the driving experience altogether.
Call Jim Leach if You’ve Been Hurt in a Car Accident
While we all long for a day when car accidents no longer cause harm or death, car accident attorneys like Jim Leach will continue to focus on helping people who are hurt in an accident or who have lost a loved one in a crash. You need an ally on your side to make sure that you get the compensation and justice that you are owed.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries as well as for the damage done to your vehicle. Contact Jim Leach by phone or online now to discuss your case and your best legal options for seeking compensation.