With almost half of drivers experiencing road rage, a car that could tell how you were feeling could actually improve driver safety and stop people coming to blows on the road.

The technology to read facial expressions and identify emotions has long been used in the development of video games and medicine, and now same technology could help make our roads safer.

Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology are working in conjunction with PSA Peugeot Citroën to try and identify drivers’ emotions using embedded infrared cameras which are placed behind the steering wheel to film drivers’ faces.

How the emotion detector works

The system first had to learn to identify the two emotions that were being tracked for the study, using a series of photos of subjects expressing anger and disgust. This same exercise was then repeated using videos taken in both an office setting as well as in a car.

While there were some problems with how every individual expressed the set emotions, the on-board detector performed well and managed to identify irritation in drivers in the majority of cases.  

If the system detected that the driver was angry and by association likely to be distracted, it could issue frequent safety reminders or alert then to a potential hazard much sooner than it might if a driver was calm and focused.

There’s no word on when this device will be available to be regular road users, but we’re also hoping these same scientists will be able to create a car that can make you a cuppa or offer calming words of advice when things get tough on the road!