Honda and Softbank want to create
Japan’s telecom giant, Softbank Corp., is teaming up with Honda to develop “emotional” artificial intelligence in cars.
Softbank has been on a tear recently, having acquired ARM Holdings, a UK semiconductor and software company, in the aftermath of a Brexit-induced stock price plunge. Now Softbank founder and chairman Masayoshi Son, as reported by Fortune, has released a joint statement with Honda saying that the companies will work together to create AI that can interact with drivers.
Son imagines a day when a car can read a driver’s mood based on speech and “other data compiled by vehicle sensors and cameras.” Based on that information, the AI would then be able to offer advice in difficult driving situations, or engagement during long road trips.
While this may seem frivolous, both Softbank and Honda have already developed actual robots that can converse and react to human emotions. Softbank’s has been building 1,000 Pepper robots a month since July 2015. Each batch has sold out in under a minute. Meanwhile, Honda’s has been developing its own robot since the 1980s. The current iteration is called ASIMO and has been focused more on humanoid motion, though it also has facial expression recognition abilities.