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AIDA, the friendly face of sat-nav

  • Friendly dash-mounted robot
  • Offers intelligent advice
  • 'Human' facial expressions
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If you've ever shouted at your sat-nav, perhaps this friendly personal robot could prove a more calming in-car companion.

The Affective Intelligent Driving Agent (AIDA) offers route advice that takes into account traffic information and your favourite routes.

AIDA will also remind you when you need to refuel, and can even give feedback on your driving style, to help you drive more efficiently or safely.

The system is being developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in conjunction with Audi and the Volkswagen Group of America's Electronics Research Lab.

The sociable robot
AIDA is being developed to read the driver's mood from facial expressions and other cues, so that it can respond helpfully.

The robot reacts with 'human' facial expressions such as a smile or wink to communicate with the driver, and the creators hope that, over time, the driver and AIDA will develop an emotional bond.

Professor Carlo Ratti, director of MIT's SENSEable City Lab, said: 'We asked ourselves how we could design a system that would offer the same kind of guidance as an informed and friendly companion.'

How does AIDA work?
AIDA analyses the driver's typical routes and destinations, and combines this knowledge with real-time information about traffic, tourist events and the type of roads used.

'Within a week, AIDA will have figured out your home and work location,' said Assaf Biderman, associate director of the SENSEable City Lab. 'Soon afterwards, the system will be able to direct you to your preferred grocery store, suggesting a route that avoids a street fair-induced traffic jam.'