Patrick Grieve
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Honda and SoftBank Collaborating on a Car that Feels Feelings

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Soon, the self-aware car KITT from Knight Rider might not seem so unrealistic. (David Hasselhoff’s performance in the series, however, will probably continue to strain believability).

Today Honda R&D announced that it was teaming up with SoftBank to create a car that uses SoftBank’s “emotion engine”: an artificial intelligence technology that “enables machines to artificially generate their own emotions.”

That’s right: a car that feels feelings.

Honda is hoping to have its Honda R&D Innovation Lab Tokyo open in Akasaka, Tokyo by September of this year. Once established, the new lab will focus on the research and development of intelligent technologies. Honda R&D’s collaboration with SoftBank will be one of the open innovation initiatives that the Japanese automaker will be working towards in the field of AI technologies.

According to Honda, the company is hoping that the joint research project will lead to the creation of cars that can have actual conversations with the driver, using information obtained from various cameras and sensors installed on the vehicle.

And this goes beyond the question-and-answer game that smartphone users play with Siri. According to Honda, the vehicle is meant to actually perceive the emotions of its driver, and then engage in a conversation with him or her “based on the vehicle’s own emotions.”

Apparently, in the future, you might be in a good mood, but your car could be feeling a bit meh. And then you guys will be able to talk it over.

Who knows, you may even begin to have some strong feelings for your car.

According to the press release: “the project will strive to enable drivers to experience the feeling that their mobility product has become a good partner and thus form a stronger emotional attachment toward it.”

Wow! Sounds like a cross between the movie Her and the Queen song “I’m in Love with My Car.”