Car Industry

Weird science: Toyota looks to tag and share routes based on emotional response

A recent patent application gives us a look at the future of navigation, when we'll call up certain routes based on how we're feeling.

"Car: Please find me a road that goes well with this wonderful new Radiohead album."

Toyota/FreePatentsOnline

Automakers regularly file patent applications, but not every one ends up seeing the light of day. Sometimes, companies just want to nail down an idea before anyone else does. The following application from Toyota might seem far-fetched, but the increasing computerization of our cars could have turned emotional map tagging into a reality.

To simplify a rather complicated patent, Toyota's system can "tag" a route, just as one might tag a YouTube video, based on a variety of inputs. It can take pictures of the scene and identify things like beaches or villas, or it could rely on sensors monitoring the driver's face, heart rate or respiration.

From there, a tag is created that reflects the situation. Is it an easy drive marked with villas and beaches? Is it a difficult road with multiple switchbacks and steep drop-offs? Does it make the driver work hard? Later on, other drivers can search for routes based on those tags. If you want a scenic route, the system has you covered, and the same goes for a more challenging drive.

Granted, we've still got some time before this is a reality. While navigation is a pretty standard option in today's cars, not much progress has been made on driver monitoring and scene recognition, at least in anything currently in production. But it's interesting to think about a future where you can ask your nav to take the "fun" way home.