Emotional assistants for autonomous vehicles

Research project investigates empathic human-machine interaction to build trust through the use of digital assistants

Empathisches HMI mit Avatar

In addition to technical implementation, a key prerequisite for the successful market launch of partially, highly and fully automated driving functions is acceptance on the part of potential users. Two decisive factors for this are a sufficient degree of trust in the safety of the system and a perceivable added value or a positive user experience. A Deloitte study of German drivers showed that while 61% are interested in trying out new developments in autonomous driving, respondents show a fundamental distrust of the safety of autonomous cars, with 90% saying they could intervene and take control at any time and 65% responding that they fear autonomous technology is not reliable.

Against this backdrop, Charamel, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic and Energy (BMWi), is working with partners from industry and research over a three-year period to develop an empathic human-machine interaction (EMMI). The core innovation of the EMMI (Empathic Human-Machine Interaction) project is the research and development of an in-vehicle emotional assistant to increase trust in autonomous vehicles. Trust will be one of the most critical factors in counteracting fears regarding one's "loss of control" over the vehicle and thus creating broad consumer acceptance for autonomous vehicles.

Other partners beside Charamel are SAINT-GOBAIN SEKURIT Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG, Can Controls GmbH, Cerence GmbH, German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) GmbH and RWTH Rheinisch-Westfälische Hochschule Aachen.