The automotive industry is undergoing major disruptions. Gone are the days when a car was purely a mode of transportation. As advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors, have made their way into vehicles, cars have become software platforms on wheels, responsible for the safety and comfort of their passengers.
For over two decades, Smart Eye has been at the leading edge of this development by delivering AI-powered driver monitoring technology to the automotive industry. But the market for Interior Sensing is rapidly evolving. By extending the technology to the entire cabin, a range of possibilities for measuring the state of the driver, the cabin and the occupants in it are unlocked.
“As we watched the driver monitoring system category evolve into Interior Sensing, monitoring the whole cabin, we quickly recognized Affectiva as a major player to watch. Affectiva’s pioneering work in establishing the field of Emotion AI has served as a powerful platform for bringing this technology to market at scale”, says Martin Krantz, CEO and founder of Smart Eye.
Spun out of MIT Media Lab in 2009, Boston-based Affectiva is known as a pioneer in Emotion AI. In recent years, the company has broadened its technology to in-cabin sensing, using machine learning and computer vision to gain a deep, human centric understanding of what’s happening in a vehicle.
By joining forces, Smart Eye and Affectiva will be combining two industry-leading Interior Sensing technologies.
“Not only are our technologies very complementary, so are our values, our teams, our culture, and perhaps most importantly, our vision for the future”, says Dr. Rana el Kaliouby, CEO and co-founder of Affectiva.
In addition to strengthening Smart Eye’s automotive offering, Affectiva brings significant incremental revenues and profit from its industry-leading Media Analytics division.
In addition, Affectiva’s Media Analytics business unit has synergies with Smart Eye’s Research Instruments division, which provides the world’s leading research organizations, such as NASA and the FAA, with high-fidelity eye tracking systems for human factors research. The integration of Affectiva’s Emotion AI with Smart Eye’s eye tracking systems will provide human factors researchers and marketers with a more holistic and insightful view of people’s behaviors.
“Affectiva and Smart Eye share a conviction that the AI we are building now will one day become ubiquitous. It will be built into the fabric of the technologies we use in our daily lives and will forever change the way we interact with technology and each other in a digital world”, says Rana el Kaliouby.
The acquisition also expands Smart Eye’s global presence with a footprint in Boston, an innovation hub with a vast technology ecosystem. In addition, Affectiva provides deep data acquisition and annotation expertise, with teams in both Boston and Cairo, Egypt.
Separately, Smart Eye and Affectiva are both front-runners for becoming the technology leader on the Interior Sensing market. But rather than continuing as competitors, the companies will merge to bring to market automotive-grade Interior Sensing AI better and faster than the competition. Together, Smart Eye and Affectiva will not only improve road safety, but also provide enhanced wellness, comfort and entertainment in tomorrow’s vehicles.
“At the end of the day, this is about saving lives and bridging the gap between humans and machines. In the future, looking back at this moment in time, I am convinced that this is a decisive moment for road safety thanks to the announcement that we have made today”, says Martin Krantz.