MIT Develops Witty Robot Sidekick (For Your Car)

Posted: Oct 30 2009, 11:11am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 11 2010, 5:11pm CDT, in Technology News


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Finally. Since I was a kid I've longed for a super-smart robot sidekick to be my best friend and come with me on my adventures. MIT's Affective Intelligent Driving Agent isn't quite that awesome, but it's a big step in the right direction. The AIDA is being built as a smart driving assistant that will make people safer and help them to find more efficient routes.

Essentially an adorable little robot that sits on your dashboard and talks to you, the AIDA is being built to recognize human facial expressions and emotional queues. Basically, they're creating a robot that knows to shut up and back off when you start to get angry at it. If some stupid dashboard droid started criticizing MY driving in the middle of agonizing gridlock traffic, I'd be sorely tempted to bludgeon it to death with my laptop bag.

The AIDA will work with the driver, learning his patterns and preferences and routes and finding ways to help him enjoy his drive more. If the robot learns (through GPS/Internet link-ups) that your normal route to work is blocked, he'll suggest another that will save you time and hassle. If you're scrimping pennies for gas money, he'll give you advice on how to improve your mileage.

This is the kind of thing that is going to be monumentally expensive when it first launches. When the price dips enough though, I can see this being as valuable as a GPS. Plus, having a few extra pairs of eyes scanning the road that are never drunk or asleep can't help but make us all a little safer.

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