Apple's self-driving car system could change how it drives by detecting passenger stress l...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 26
Apple's self-driving car technology could potentially change the way it drives based on the reactions of its passengers, using monitoring sensors to analyze the vehicle's occupants and determine an appropriate driving style to suit the situation, potentially reducing the chance of a passenger panicking.




The patent application for "Comfort Profiles," filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in March but published on Thursday, describes how an autonomous driving and navigation system can move through an environment, with motion governed by a number of factors that are set indirectly by the passengers of the vehicle.

A sensor device located at the front of the vehicle's cabin could potentially monitor some or all of the people in a car, which could be used to identify individuals. These internal sensors can include light-scanning devices like LIDAR, depth cameras, and infrared sensors to collect the data, which is then passed on to the driving system.

While driving, the sensors could be used to ascertain an occupant's eye movements, body posture, gestures, pupil dilation, blinking, body temperature, heart beat, perspiration, head position, and other factors of each passenger. This data, and previous experiences of known users, can be used to create an occupant profile, and in turn enable the vehicle to select one of a number of comfort profiles.




A comfort profile dictates how the vehicle drives, changing a variety of settings so the car moves with as much comfort for the user or users as possible. These driving control parameters can include adjusting the straight-line acceleration, the turning rate, how fast the car can perform lane changes, the stiffness of the suspension, enabling or disabling traction control, and other elements that dictate how the vehicle ultimately moves.

As the system continues to take in live data, the comfort profile can be altered if the state of the passengers changes. For example, if it detects the stress level of a passenger rises during a fast turn, it could move to a different comfort profile that is slower and smoother, in an effort to remove that stress.




Apple's "Project Titan," the codename used for the self-driving technology, was originally thought to be part of a branded car, but the focus changed to the autonomous vehicle technology in late 2016. Apple does perform testing of its self-driving systems, including recently increasing its fleet of test vehicles in California to 66 cars, and is thought to be working with Volkswagen on the PAIL program, which would ferry employees between offices using autonomous vans.

The project has also been the subject of attempted trade secret theft, with one employee accused of stealing a 25-page detailed schematic of a circuit board intended for use in an autonomous vehicle. The employee entered a plea of not guilty on July 16.

Apple applies for a large number of patents on a regular basis, and the publication of any applications or granted patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is not a guarantee that the concepts described will make it to consumer device, if at all.

In March, it was revealed Apple is still considering ways for passengers to interact with self-driving cars, with patent applications suggesting hand signals and gestures could be used to direct the vehicle on the road. Another application uses the external sensors of the vehicle to recognize gestures and hand-based commands given by traffic directors, such as police turning traffic away from an accident.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    nunzynunzy Posts: 649member
    Apple could use this in other devices to monitor the user. Then it could aggregate the data and provide it to enhance the UX of your whole life.
    repressthisbdkennedy1002
  • Reply 2 of 26
    esaruohoesaruoho Posts: 55member
    i could imagine benefiting from this. to have a cozy drive home that winds me down rather than being more stressed because it drove wildly all over the place and tried to beat the record.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 3 of 26
    Perhaps they should learn to read the stress level and feedback of their Mac users before they attempt anything that will get people killed. 
    edited July 26 tallest skilrepressthis
  • Reply 4 of 26
    nicwnicw Posts: 3member
    If it works, I’ll be catching up on sleep. 
    Alex1N
  • Reply 5 of 26
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 565member
    ElCapitan said:
    Perhaps they should learn to read the stress level and feedback of their Mac users before they attempt anything that will get people killed. 
    Really? Even when I’ve had a shitty “mac” day (perhaps 10 in the last three decades), the platform has always been a dream to work with. Every time I have attempted to work on a pc, it has been a nightmare. Not sure what you’re trying to say here, but maybe it has nothing to do with the platform and more to do with the user and their expectations. 
    racerhomie3Rayz2016StrangeDaysLordeHawkAlex1N
  • Reply 6 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,026member
    mac_dog said:
    ElCapitan said:
    Perhaps they should learn to read the stress level and feedback of their Mac users before they attempt anything that will get people killed. 
    Really? Even when I’ve had a shitty “mac” day (perhaps 10 in the last three decades), the platform has always been a dream to work with. Every time I have attempted to work on a pc, it has been a nightmare. Not sure what you’re trying to say here, but maybe it has nothing to do with the platform and more to do with the user and their expectations. 
    He's saying don't do work on a PC and then take an Apple Car home. It'll be a very slow trip to the house. 
    :)
    repressthis
  • Reply 7 of 26
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,128member
    So all the other traffic has to adjust to the one car in which the occupant is stressed out? Imagine if air travel worked that way ... oh wait, I guess it already does. LOL
  • Reply 8 of 26
    mac_dog said:
    ElCapitan said:
    Perhaps they should learn to read the stress level and feedback of their Mac users before they attempt anything that will get people killed. 
    Really? Even when I’ve had a shitty “mac” day (perhaps 10 in the last three decades), the platform has always been a dream to work with. Every time I have attempted to work on a pc, it has been a nightmare. Not sure what you’re trying to say here, but maybe it has nothing to do with the platform and more to do with the user and their expectations. 
    I was not referring to macOS in itself, although at times even that can be testy with the rapid yearly update cycle and features being removed or "simplified" to the level of less useful. 

    I was more thinking of the stress level a number of Mac owners (the hardware) feel, for whom Apple has not provided a viable update path for literally years. 
  • Reply 9 of 26
    Phobos7Phobos7 Posts: 4member
    Not a great idea
  • Reply 10 of 26
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,188member
    As we move rapidly toward this brave new world I wonder if it will generate drop-out subcultures like Amish who insist on driving their own cars. 
    Alex1N
  • Reply 11 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,026member
    As we move rapidly toward this brave new world I wonder if it will generate drop-out subcultures like Amish who insist on driving their own cars. 
    I'd say probably but maybe not anything all that significant. That's a whole lotta profiling going on in those patent claims and it's going to make some people more uncomfortable/stressed to be a part of it.
  • Reply 12 of 26
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    A sensor device located at the front of the vehicle's cabin could potentially monitor some or all of the people in a car, which could be used to identify individuals. \
    Totally not okay with that, but I’m also not okay with self-drivers.
    A comfort profile dictates how the vehicle drives, changing a variety of settings so the car moves with as much comfort for the user or users as possible.
    So if I dress like this, will my car multi-lane drift?

    Apple's "Project Titan," the codename used for the self-driving technology, was originally thought to be part of a branded car, but the focus changed to the autonomous vehicle technology in late 2016.
    How do we know either half of that sentence?
    Another application uses the external sensors of the vehicle to recognize gestures and hand-based commands given by traffic directors, such as police turning traffic away from an accident.
    That… is neat.
    SpamSandwichAlex1N
  • Reply 13 of 26
    mac_128 said:
    So all the other traffic has to adjust to the one car in which the occupant is stressed out? Imagine if air travel worked that way ... oh wait, I guess it already does. LOL
    Air traffic, or at least, a particular flight (and sometimes multiple flights) does that. One guy/gal freaks out or misbehaves, pilots then need to land a plane and transfer "the client" into the police custody. All that requires breaking of schedules both for the flight itself, as well as changing landing sequences due to declared "pan-pans" (not always) and emergencies. Sometimes, fuel drop is needed, which costs even more money.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 14 of 26
    FolioFolio Posts: 368member
    What are implications of such machine awareness in the smart phone market? Right now, even in developed nation like Japan more than 30 percent of people don't have smart phones. I'm guessing many of them are older folks. If you give phones greater awareness and intelligence, the market enlarges to include the elderly. These intelligent agents could be great helpers and advocates for their users, young and old. Don't think anyone is modeling this yet, since hard to predict when it'll happen.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 15 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,026member
    Folio said:
    What are implications of such machine awareness in the smart phone market? Right now, even in developed nation like Japan more than 30 percent of people don't have smart phones. I'm guessing many of them are older folks. If you give phones greater awareness and intelligence, the market enlarges to include the elderly. These intelligent agents could be great helpers and advocates for their users, young and old. Don't think anyone is modeling this yet, since hard to predict when it'll happen.
    Yes it's being modeled now and yes it should help those older folks remain in their own homes for longer rather than in a nursing/caregiver facility. 
    edited July 26 Alex1N
  • Reply 16 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,026member
    Another application uses the external sensors of the vehicle to recognize gestures and hand-based commands given by traffic directors, such as police turning traffic away from an accident.
    That… is neat.
    Already in active use too, probably since 2012 (patent actually granted in 2015, not Apple tho). Bicyclists have been appreciating it.

    Perhaps of note and perhaps not, there's a pending application (US20170247037A1) dating to 2014 that appears to describe much the same as this Apple patent application. There's also a granted IBM patent ( 9,945,679, specifically claim #15) that may be very, very similar to what Apple would like to patent.

    There's so much activity with autonomous driving systems, and many engineers moving around to different companies, that some of the best ideas are gonna get recycled. That everyone wants to apply for a patent on some of the same stuff is normal. 
    edited July 26 Alex1N
  • Reply 17 of 26
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,155member
    mac_128 said:
    So all the other traffic has to adjust to the one car in which the occupant is stressed out? Imagine if air travel worked that way ... oh wait, I guess it already does. LOL
    Driving also already works that way. 
    StrangeDaysAlex1N
  • Reply 18 of 26
    mrrmrr Posts: 62member
    Anything that Apple and Google can do to make EXISTING cars safer will be well worth it. 40,000 annual traffic deaths in the US alone is tragic. 
    Soli
  • Reply 19 of 26
    enabling or disabling traction control...based on user’s emotion.”
    When would that ever be a good idea for an autonomous vehicle?
    Alex1N
  • Reply 20 of 26
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    “enabling or disabling traction control...based on user’s emotion.”
    When would that ever be a good idea for an autonomous vehicle?
    Well, if you’re suicidal in the winter, it’ll turn off automatically to give the user what they desire.
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