Fast Company

MIT, Volkswagen's In-Car Personal Robot Thinks You're Driving Like a Maniac

MIT Media Lab robot

An MIT Media Lab robot (not AIDA) via glemak on Flickr

My parents already treat the GPS on their car like it's a person: "Shh! She's talking!" Now researchers at the MIT Media Lab, in partnership with Audi, want to take that relationship one step further with AIDA, the "Affective Intelligent Driving Agent."

"In developing AIDA we asked ourselves how we could design a system that would offer the same kind of guidance as an informed and friendly companion," says professor Carlo Ratti, director of the SENSEable City Lab.

Assaf Biderman, associate director of the SENSEable City Lab, adds, "Within a week AIDA will have figured out your home and work location. Soon afterward, the system will be able to direct you to your preferred grocery store, suggesting a route that avoids a street fair-induced traffic jam. On the way, AIDA might recommend a stop to fill up your tank, upon noticing that you are getting low on gas," says Biderman. "AIDA can also give you feedback on your driving, helping you achieve more energy efficiency and safer behavior."

Basically, the researchers have invented the ultimate backseat driver.

This is all troubling. People already put too much trust in their onboard GPS systems, like when Michael from The Office drove into a lake. Besides, do you want an overgrown smartypants GPS device telling you you're driving too fast? You could always pit it against the Autonomous Audi TT-S for an exhilarating game of robot chicken.

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