Toyota could reportedly bring mood-sensing technology to the road within the next six years.
UK magazine What Car? reports that the new technology, which enables a vehicle to read a driver’s mood and react accordingly, has been in development since 2006.
Primarily intended to enhance safety, the technology in its current form can reportedly ascertain whether a driver is happy, sad, angry or neutral, based on scanning 238 facial points.
The system can even determine a driver’s mood when wearing sunglasses or a beard. It then gauges how focused the driver is, before intervening with safety reminders if required.
According to Toyota’s research, a driver is less responsive to road hazards if they are angry or sad, compared with a neutral mood.
Toyota’s first hint at such a technology came in the Pod concept shown at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show. The Pod, however, was more focused on demonstrating a driver’s mood through lighting and active body panels than directly enhancing safety.
A production version of the safety-focused technology isn’t too far away, the report claims.
“Some of the elements could start to be available in around six years. For non-vital applications some basic things could be available earlier though,” Toyota’s Jonas Ambeck told the magazine.
The technology could also potentially be used to improve efficiency, for example by dimming sat-nav screens when the driver is not looking at them.