New technology allows for robotic passengers

Imagine that you’re speeding down the highway in your Audi, windows rolled down, radio cranked up so that you can barely even hear yourself singing along to the familiar tunes. And who’s that next to you, harmonizing? That’s just Aida, your robotic passenger.

Aida, or the Affective Intelligent Driving Agent, is a robot designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that is meant to sit in the passenger seat of the car and help improve people’s driving habits, according to Wired magazine. Aida, according to the article, is meant to make people safer and happier drivers by analyzing their driving habits, tracking frequent routes, providing real-time traffic information, and making friendly suggestions about buckling up and following the speed limit.

MIT researchers explain in the article that having Aida in the car will actually help drivers’ skills because the robot will act as a passenger — facial expressions and all — which studies have found improves people’s driving.

It’s impressive to see new and innovative uses of the constantly evolving technology of current times, especially ones that are designed to improve the safety of people on the road, as opposed to the cell-phone calls and texting that currently only distract drivers. It’s also impressive that Audi is partnering with the MIT labs to turn this research into reality instead of relegating the robot to the labs of universities.

We look forward to the day when we can drive in a tricked-out Audi with Aida riding shotgun, intermittently directing us where to turn as we chat about the weather and what’s happening in the world.