AIDA, A Robotic Backseat Driver That Tries To Charm You With Backlit Eyes


If having your wife and your mother-in-law barking at you from the passenger seats of your car aren’t enough distractions, you might soon be able to add a robot in there too.  That’s if AIDA, short for Affective Intelligent Driving Assistant, ends up making its way to future vehicles.

Created by a collaboration from the MIT SENSElab, the MIT Media Lab’s Personal Robots Group and the Volkswagen Group of America’s Electronics Research Lab, AIDA is a high-tech navigation system that acts more like a knowledgeable companion than a GPS device.  It’s effectively a robotic backseat driver who, male drivers the world over fervently hope, is a lot less annoying than the ones you typically have riding with you.


What exactly will this social, direction-dispensing robot do?  According to the press release, AIDA will keep a database of “understanding” of the city that goes beyond routes and waypoints, as well as demonstrate an ability to analyze the driver’s mobility patterns, driving habits and moods.  During trips, it will combine all of these information, along with real-time data of local events, weather and traffic, to assist the driver in finding the best way to their destination.

The idea sounds novel, though, it really sounds no different from an improved GPS system – as in, it’s still largely destination-oriented.  Plus, that robot making cute eyes just looks irritating.  Seriously, if a robot flashes that while I’m driving, I’m throwing it out the window.  Only the wife can pester me like that.  And the kids.  Maybe the dog.  But that’s it, no robots.

[MIT ]