ROME – Design and performance are no longer enough to capture the attention of potential car buyers. Competition in the automotive sector is increasingly fierce and manufacturers are looking for new solutions that can offer something more than their competitors. The last frontier in this field is called “driving pleasure”, a term that is perhaps a little too abused and often used in a generalized way and never as thoroughly as it deserves.
Abarth, the sports brand par excellence of the Stellantis galaxy, took care of this, the first manufacturer in the world to experiment with facial recognition technology to analyze the emotions experienced when aboard a car. The scorpion brand, in collaboration with Loughborough University, a renowned university for academic activities related to sport, thus carried out a series of tests to discover the different emotions felt by the driver and passenger. State-of-the-art facial recognition technology was used in conjunction with heart rate sensors – Electrocardiogram (Ecg) and Photoplethysmography (Ppg) allowing Abarth to accurately detect a range of emotions among participants.
“The range of biometric equipment we used allowed us to accurately detect a range of emotions felt when the driver and passenger get into an Abarth, while detecting the most evident emotion during their respective driving activities – he explained. Dr Dale Esliger of the University of Loughborough, who conducted the trial – Research in this area is limited, however I believe it will be an area of the automotive industry that will continue to be explored as manufacturers strive to improve the experience driving their cars “.
At the wheel of an Abarth F595, 595 Esseesse and 595 Competizione, participants were subjected to driving challenges that included fast laps, precision driving tests and chases at the Mallory Park circuit in Leicestershire, UK. Various emotions, including happiness, excitement and fear, were also measured while passengers sat alongside professional pilots. The results showed that the most important feeling during a hot lap was happiness, both when driving (31.8%) and as a passenger (35.4%).
When professional drivers pushed the car to its full potential, participants experienced brief moments of fear and shock (11.9%), contributing to a thrilling experience on the track. The data was then analyzed using the DeepFace Python library and the Facial Emotion Recognition library. “We have always known by anecdote of the levels of joy our cars bring to the driver and passengers – underlined Greg Taylor, CEO of Fiat and Abarth for the United Kingdom – but now we have some preliminary data from one of the most important sports universities. of the world that confirm it. Our products are not only designed to thrill drivers on the road, they are also perfect for track days ”. In short, the hunt for the last emotion behind the wheel is open and an important game will be played on the real “driving pleasure”.