Affectiva receives six new patents for using AI to analyse vehicle occupants

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Human perception AI pioneer Affectiva has been granted six patents for detecting the awareness and emotions of vehicle occupants.

Affectiva Automotive AI combines deep learning with computer vision – using in-vehicle cameras – to analyse the states of the driver and other vehicle occupants in a cabin in real-time.

Dr Rana el Kaliouby, Co-Founder and CEO of Affectiva, said:

“Over the last decade, Affectiva has continuously pursued new patents as we have pioneered and advanced the fields of Emotion AI and Human Perception AI.

The breadth and depth of our patent portfolio reflect our commitment to pushing the boundaries of computer vision, machine learning, deep learning and AI at the edge; and, is a testament to our leadership in defining the many creative and diverse applications of Human Perception AI that are shaping industries today and in the future.” 

The main benefit of this data is, of course, safety. Detecting drowsiness or distractions could help to save lives.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) the main causes of accidents are human error and/or environmental problems. Human error tops the list, listed as being the cause of 95 percent of accidents.

However, it’s not just safety Affectiva’s tech can be used for. For other vehicle occupants, reading their emotions and current perception can deliver improved experiences via things such as infotainment systems.

The latest six patents awarded to Affectiva are:

  • Drowsiness Mental State Analysis Using Blink Rate (US Patent No. 10867197): drowsiness, mental fatigue, attention, and cognitive load are determined based on temporal analysis of an individual’s blink rate. This information can be used to manipulate vehicle operation, including recommending a break, adjusting the in-cabin environment, or activating braking and steering control.
  • Cognitive State Evaluation For Vehicle Navigation (US Patent No. 10922566): influences vehicle control via multi-modal sensing of occupants’ cognitive states. This is particularly useful for semi-autonomous vehicles to ensure the safe transfer of control between the car and the driver. Analysis is performed using signals like speech and non-speech vocalisation – such as yawns and snoring – and physiological data including heart and respiration rate. It also considers environmental conditions like temperature, lighting, time of day, weather, and infotainment status.
  • Cognitive State-Based Vehicle Manipulation Using Near-Infrared Image Processing (US Patent No. 10922567): processes near-infrared (NIR) images from in-vehicle cameras, using deep neural networks that run on embedded systems. The use of NIR cameras enables readable images under darker lighting conditions such as driving at night or through a tunnel.
  • Vehicle Content Recommendation Via Affect (US Patent No. 10911829): infotainment content is recommended using factors such as vehicle occupants’ emotional state. Personalised content improves the transportation experience and provides new monetisation opportunities for automakers and advertisers.
  • Vehicle Content Recommendation Using Cognitive States (US Patent No. 10897650): similar to the above but is based on an understanding of cognitive states drawn from multiple sensors inside a vehicle. Tailored content recommendations can help occupants to focus, relax, or calm down while travelling. 
  • Image Analysis for Emotional Metric Evaluation (US Patent No. 10869626):
    collects an individual’s emotional responses to content and digital experiences consumed on mobile devices and in vehicles. This helps an individual track and quantify their emotions over time, all with opt-in and consent — serving as a fitness tracker for emotional wellbeing.

Affectiva has now been awarded a total of 39 patents and has more than 25 still pending.

“These patents are a testament to our shared innovation mindset, and reflect the incredible diversity of ideas that come from our diverse team,” added Kaliouby. “We’re proud of these innovations and the value they provide to the company, our shareholders and the industry at large, as we work together to shape the future of Human Perception AI in automotive and beyond.” 

AI News recently named Affectiva as one of its innovative companies to watch in 2021.

(Image Credit: Samuele Errico Piccarini)

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