Do We Need a Car That Can Read Your Mood?

Welcome to Thomas Insights — every day, we publish the latest news and analysis to keep our readers up to date on what’s happening in industry. Sign up here to get the day’s top stories delivered straight to your inbox.


It’s almost 2019, and before you even get a chance to get serious about your hot new Keto diet, you’ll be back at work!

But nobody takes hitting-the-2019-ground-running mentality more seriously than the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) — a tech explosion that takes place each year in Las Vegas before you’ve even digested all that leftover fruitcake.

And while there is a lot of hype leading up to the event, CES is also chock full of technology that seems purpose-built only to show off the design chops of the company that makes it. In order to be built, the tech will need to align with consumer demand, and for some of this stuff … meh? I’m just not sure it’s there.

Take, for instance, the collaboration between automaker Kia and MIT that banks on passengers in driverless cars someday wanting those cars to be able to detect how they’re feeling.

According to Cnet, Kia believes that driverless cars should make their passengers as comfortable as possible, and that means more than just ergonomics: it means tracking people's emotional health as well. The system is called “READ,” which stands for Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving. Applied to a prototype driverless car cabin, which looks kind of like a futuristic pod, READ is designed to adapt the interior environment to the mood of the riders.

According to Kia, READ uses "bio-signal recognition technology" and artificial intelligence to analyze how occupants feel. It responds by adjusting the environment, and this could mean mood lighting, calming scents, or music. So wait … I can’t drive or pick my own music?

Seriously though, Cnet predicts that Kia won’t be the only automaker at this year’s CES that will be exploring the vast emptiness of what life will be like in our cars once we don’t drive them ourselves— and what we’ll actually do instead.

How many miles of the license plate game before your brain explodes?

Apple Getting a Feel for Smart MedicineNext Story »