Consumer Electronics Show

Hyundai envisions a car that senses and cures your road rage

Challenging year for Korean automakers: Analyst

Horsepower and fuel efficiency are still top of mind for carmakers, but now so is something else: your mood.

Hyundai Motor has unveiled a concept cockpit for a car that it says could "monitor the physical and mental state of the driver."

Determining a driver's mental state will help ensure the "optimum health and mental attitude" for safe driving, Mike O'Brien, vice president at Hyundai Motor Americas, said Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Tracking heart rate, posture, breathing and facial feature recognition, the car would deliver "mood bursts" to make the driver calmer or more alert, Hyundai said in a statement.

The "burst" could include adjusting the seat position for either more alertness or relaxation, as well as adjustments to the warmth of the car's lighting, temperature, music volume and even the scents of lavender or eucalyptus inside the car, Hyundai said.

For now, the "mood bursts" are limited to a virtual reality experience, offered at CES.

Other companies are already taking a similar approach: Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang expressed comparable ambitions in his keynote address the show, saying a car should act like an artificially intelligent co-pilot, using facial recognition, lip reading and gaze tracking to tell whether a driver is "too aggravated" and needs to pull over.

An AAA study last year found that nearly 80 percent of drivers "expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel" in the previous year. One such confrontation recently made headlines after a toddler was shot in an alleged road-rage encounter.

Hyundai's simulation is part of a larger push toward autonomous vehicles, which will soon be safer than human drivers, according to proponents like Huang.

For Hyundai, the future of the car is also clean and connected. The company also announced on Wednesday that it would partner with Cisco to ensure security for self-driving connected cars, and that it would release a new hydrogen fuel cell car by 2018.

"We are joining the party by sharing our own vision for future mobility," Hyundai Vice Chairman Eui-sun Chung said in a speech. "It's the start of a new year, and if you spent any time at this show, you will hear people say that we are at the start of a new era. … This has huge implications for mobility."