Abarth has started trialing facial recognition technology to better understand the emotions that drivers and passengers experience in its cars.
The car manufacturer partnered with Loughborough University for the project, sending participants out in an Abarth F595, 595 Esseesse and 595 Competizione at Mallory Park, Leicestershire. Advanced facial recognition technology was used alongside heart rate sensors, electrocardiogram, and photoplethysmography.
Data collected was analyzed using the DeepFace Python library and Facial Emotion Recognition library and revealed that the most prominent feeling during a hot lap was happiness when behind the wheel (31.8 per cent) and as a passenger (35.4 per cent).
Read: Abarth Classiche 1000 SP Heading To Production Based On Alfa Romeo 4C
Nevertheless, it reveals what we already knew: driving a car around a racetrack is loads of fun.
“The constellation of biometric equipment that we used allowed us to accurately detect an array of emotions that were experienced when driver’s and passenger’s get into an Abarth, while detecting the most prominent emotion during the respective driving activities,” Dr. Dale Esliger from Loughborough University said. “Research within this remit is limited, however, I suspect it will be an area within the automotive industry that will continue to be explored, as manufacturers strive to improve the driving experiences of their cars.”
While participants were riding as a passenger with a professional driver behind the wheel, Abarth says they experienced short bursts of fear and shock (11.9 per cent).
“We always knew anecdotally that the levels of joy our cars bring to the driver and passengers, but now we have some preliminary data from one of the world’s leading sport universities to back that up,” UK managing director of Fiat and Abarth, Greg Taylor, added. “Our products are not only designed to excite drivers on the road, but they’re also perfect track day cars too.”