The development of autonomous driving cars is a complex activity, which poses challenges about ethics, safety, cybersecurity, and social acceptance. The latter, in particular, poses new problems since passengers are used to manually driven vehicles; hence, they need to move their trust from a person to a computer. To smooth the transition towards autonomous vehicles, a delicate calibration of the driving functions should be performed, making the automation decision closest to the passengers’ expectations. The complexity of this calibration lies in the presence of a person in the loop: different settings of a given algorithm should be evaluated by assessing the human reaction to the vehicle decisions. With this work, we for an objective method to classify the people’s reaction to vehicle decisions. By adopting machine learning techniques, it is possible to analyze the passengers’ emotions while driving with alternative vehicle calibrations. Through the analysis of these emotions, it is possible to obtain an objective metric about the comfort feeling of the passengers. As a result, we developed a proof-of-concept implementation of a simple, yet effective, emotions recognition system. It can be deployed either into real vehicles or simulators, during the driving functions calibration.
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