Daily Management Review

Drivers Can Sit Back, Relax and Let Cars do the Talking: SoftBank and Honda Vision


Drivers Can Sit Back, Relax and Let Cars do the Talking: SoftBank and Honda Vision
Another "crazy idea": talking cars that can read a driver's emotions, is the new engagement of SoftBank Corp founder Masayoshi Son. This new potential venture flows very fast on the heels of the $32 billion takeover of chip designer ARM Holdings by SoftBank announced earlier this week.
ARM is Cambridge, UK , based chip manufacturing firm and is among the world leaders in chip manufacturing used in smartphones, LED TVs and a host of other electronic products.
To look at ways of applying SoftBank's humanoid robotic technology to cars so that they can communicate with drivers and perhaps help them park the cars or even offer company on long trips, the Japanese telecommunications and internet corporation will team up with Honda Motor Co, the former announced on Thursday.

Hoping that the buying of ARM will play a central role in the tech industry's shift to the 'internet of things' (IoT), SoftBank on Monday, agreed to buy British chip designer ARM Holdings, Son has said in a statement. 
Based on the technology available in SoftBank's "Pepper" robot, a life-sized robot that can read human emotions, a future was described by both Softbank and Honda in which Honda cars could speak and interact with their drivers via cloud-based technology. The tow companies made this revelation at an event in Tokyo.
"Imagine if robots, with their super intelligence, devoted themselves to humans. And imagine that cars themselves became supercomputers or robots one day. Honda will be the first to adopt this technology," Son said.
The emotions of the driver would be gauged and recorded through a host of sensors and cameras in the new future vision as described by the two companies. A driver’s speech and other data compiled by vehicle sensors and cameras would be assessed to ascertain the mood of the driver and then the humanoid robot would allow the vehicle to engage in conversation with the driver. Both the companies are set to begin research on these aspects.
The assessment of the emotions of the driver would help the vehicle to be able to offer advice and support to drivers. Such vehicle support would include activities like supporting the driver in any form of challenging parking or driving situations. Apart from this the plan is to enable the vehicles to also provide company to drivers on long, solitary trips.
The "internet of things (IoT)," a network of devices, vehicles and building sensors that collect, exchange and feed data into AI and robots is the latest focus for SoftBank and additionally, the firm has been making an aggressive push into AI and robotics as well.
IoT would bring "the biggest paradigm shift ever" in the tech industry, Son has said on more than one occasion.
There are a large number of automakers who are competing to develop self-driving cars, which many plan to bring to market in the coming years and the tie-up with Honda comes at a time when complete self driving cars are envisioned to hit the commercial market very soon.
Honda announced last month that it would establish a research facility in Tokyo in September as the Japan's No. 3 automaker by vehicle sales pushes for expanding research into artificial intelligence technology.

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