Car maker Bentley has announced an innovative new system to help users customize their cars. Called the Bentley Inspirator, it’s an iOS app that uses facial recognition technology to determine user preferences.
Basically, the app plays a video for the user, and uses the iOS device’s front-facing camera to apply its facial monitoring technology, which looks for patterns indicating specific emotional responses on the part of the user. The video changes in real time based on the user’s reactions, and ultimately uses them to determine unique car configurations, which are revealed to the user at the end of the film. According to Bentley, the system uses “the world’s largest emotion data repository – 3.4 million faces have been analysed in 75 countries amounting to more than 12 billion emotion data points.”
It’s a bold new approach to car configuration, though the technology is not unprecedented; as early as last year, a comedy club in Spain installed audience-facing cameras that could detect when individuals were laughing, and medical researchers have sought to use facial emotion detection technology to better understand patient pain levels.
Whether Bentley customers will be interested in having an iOS app interpret their emotions for them, rather than figure out for themselves what specifications they prefer, is anyone’s guess. In any case, the software is available now for use with the Bentayga SUV, with support for other Bentley vehicles on the way in the coming months.