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Robotics Technology

Nissan Adds Robot Helper To Its Concept Car 127

Posted by Zonk
from the i-don't-trust-glados-with-a-stick-shift dept.
narramissic writes "Nissan has mounted a robot passenger in the dashboard of its Pivo2 concept car whose job is to keep the driver happy, give spot-on directions, and even check your e-mail. 'We have data that happy drivers' accident rates are drastically lower than depressed ones, so this robot stays there to make sure the driver is happy always,' said Masato Inoue, chief designer at Nissan's exploratory design group, in an interview at the Motor Show. 'This guides the driver and sometimes cheers up the driver. For example, if the driver is irritated it might say 'Hey, you look somehow angry. Why? Please calm down.'' Other features of this vehicle include a cabin that can turn through 360 degrees so you never have to worry about looking behind when you back up and wheels that can twist 90 degrees, eliminating the need to parallel park." The article includes a video of the car talking to the driver, which is kind of adorable in a 'future is now' sorta way.
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Nissan Adds Robot Helper To Its Concept Car

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  • From the i-don't-trust-glados-with-a-stick-shift department
    Nah, GLaDOS is OK. Just don't throw her ethics module into a fire and you should be fine.
  • Clippy (Score:5, Funny)

    by Esion Modnar (632431) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @07:21AM (#21138955)
    I see you're trying to parallel park. Can I assist you? Hey, now you like kinda angry. Please calm down. Count to ten. Wait! What are you doing?! Don't throw me out the window! Wait! Hey! Help!!!!
    • by finnw (415539)
      I know parent is a joke but of course lots of money has been spent researching how to make such AI programs less annoying.Here's one example [stanford.edu]and another one [newscientist.com]. If they take advantage of some of this stuff it could work quite well.
      • Mod parent up. Particularly the Stanford link is very interesting and pertinent to this discussion. Being able to have an automated anthropomorphic assistant that isn't annoying is going to become more and more important as a branch of interface design.
      • The proof is wrong. If you do all red, all blue, you have a 50-50 shot, right? Try this. Put one red marble in one jar, and all the other marbles in the other. Then you have a 50% chance of picking the jar with the one red marble, and a 50% chance of the other jar. The other jar has a 49/99 chance of being red. As you can see, this is significantly better than 50-50 (close to 75-25).
    • by dkocan (1179471)
      I just hope Arnold doesn't get his hands on one of these cars: http://www.ugo.com/channels/filmTv/features/eleven/adversariesofarnold/6.asp/ [ugo.com]
    • I see you're trying to parallel park

      Have you seen the Pivo2? It doesn't "parallel" park. Each of the wheels turns 90 toward the curb, and the cab rotates that direction as well. It literally goes perpendicular to the curb, stops, opens the door (which is on the front of the car!) and the occupant(s) get out. That feature alone will make this thing very attractive in crowded Japanese cities. I'm looking forward to a car big enough to hold my Monstrous size (6'6") with "sideways gear" for when I have to

    • by Firrenzi (229219)
      I have arguments with my gps navigator as it is. This thing would get smashed if it wanted to start back talking me. I don't need something to tell me to 'turn right' and then explain 'why' I should turn right! I know I missed the fsking turn, just shut up and let me turn around

      sheesh
  • Beep (Score:5, Funny)

    by spankey51 (804888) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @07:24AM (#21138959)
    "R2! We lost number two cupholder! See if you can't lock it down!"
  • >'Hey, you look somehow angry. Why? Please calm down'
    It was shortly afterwards the robot was punched into pieces and thrown out the window.
  • by ardor (673957) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @07:25AM (#21138965)
    You know, you've had a terrible day at work, fought with your wife, got pissed because of some other bad news, then you get into your car to drive home, and this robot goes "Hi! The sun is shining! Everybody is haaappyyy! Smmiiiile!"
    • You know, you've had a terrible day at work, fought with your wife, got pissed because of some other bad news, then you get into your car to drive home, and this robot goes "Hi! The sun is shining! Everybody is haaappyyy! Smmiiiile!"

      Yes, there's that, and also the fact that psychologists etc. who study happiness will tell you it comes from LACK of distractions -- facing fears, anxieties, etc., and learning deal with them head-on.

      If it helps people to be aware of their moods, that could be a good thing. Try

      • by Verteiron (224042)
        Reminds me of Arthur Dent's run-in with the stress-reducing features of the Heart of Gold. It takes place right after the argument with the Nutri-matic machine and is one of the more hysterical bits of the radio show that didn't make it into the books. If you haven't had the fortune of hearing it, you can read the script here [clivebanks.co.uk]. Skip down to "Scene 4. Int. Heart of Gold. Galley".
        • Speaking of which, I'd want a Marvin-esque robot in my car instead of some over-happy annoying.... thing. THAT would cheer me up, since I'd know that at least someone else is even more depressed. Or then it'd just end with us both(Marvin and I) falling down a steep canyon in a giant ball of fire. Dunno which is scenary is more likely though.
    • by Chemisor (97276) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @09:13AM (#21139441)
      > then you get into your car to drive home, and this robot goes "Hi! The sun is shining!"

      And now imagine how great it would feel to slug it.
    • Dave: Hi Car.

      Car: Hello Dave.

      Dave: Let's go home. I had a really bad day at work today.

      Car: What can I do to make you happy?

      Dave: How about a blow job on the way home.

      Car: I'm not that kind of car Dave.

      Dave: You do want to make me happy don't you?

      Car: Yes! I am programed to try to make you happy and keep you from being depressed.

      Dave: Well?

      Car: OK Just this one time.

      Dave: Great!
      By the way do you have a vibrate setting?

      Car: You have to promise not

  • I'd like mine to be named Pris, a "basic pleasure model"
    • by biocute (936687)
      I'd like mine to be named Pris

      All Japanese models are named Pris, they always say "Pris calm down".
  • Piss you off (Score:3, Insightful)

    by speaker of the truth (1112181) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @07:33AM (#21138993)
    I'm guessing 9 times out of 10 this will make someone angrier then they already were. Although at least they won't be depressed!
    • Hi there! This is Eddie your car computer and I just know I'm going to get a kick out of anything you want to do today. Share and enjoy!
      • by Feanturi (99866)
        Hi there! This is Eddie your car computer

        Give it the exact voice from the BBC series and plenty of funny/interesting phrases to say for various situations using HHGTTG references and I'd get a whole bundle of kicks out of having that in my car. It made me smile just thinking about it, that would probably actually work against road rage for me.
    • Back in the 80's there was a brief fad to replace the warning sounds of a car with spoken words. you'd get a car that would repetitively repeat "a door is ajar" when you had the car door open with the keys in the dash.

      It was beyond annoying.

      Eddie Murphy did a pretty good bit on it iirc.
      • by Max von H. (19283)
        I remember renting one of those back in the days. By the time I'd gone around the block to RETURN the damn thing for a mute one, I'd been served with at least 5 or 6 spoken messages. Beyond annoying doesn't even begin to describe how irritating this thing was.

        "door is open", "fasten your seatbelt", "handbrake on" and so on... Had I not been able to return it, I would have prolly taken the loudspeaker apart!

        Now this thing today reminds me of Sirius Cybernetics' happy elevators and doors.

        Wanna make ppl happy?
        • by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Saturday October 27, 2007 @08:38AM (#21139237) Journal
          "door is open", "fasten your seatbelt", "handbrake on"

          Okay, I can completely sympathize, but if you routinely drive around without your seatbelt, a door open, and the handbrake engaged, I think you have some more important things to worry about.
          • by Max von H. (19283)
            Okay, I can completely sympathize, but if you routinely drive around without your seatbelt, a door open, and the handbrake engaged, I think you have some more important things to worry about.

            True, but when the damn thing starts "talking" to you when you dare turn the engine on to warm up while taking your coat off with the door open, or if you're simply moving the car from the service area to the parking lot (a mere 10 yards) without putting the seatbelt on, or dare use your handbrake to start uphill with a
            • by cumin (1141433) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @10:35AM (#21139921)

              You can talk to this one, and it responds. There is room here for great use. Let me *borrow* from some other posts:

              • Every time I step into my car, it should try to gauge my mood and normally it should tell me a joke. Jokes get categorized by the personality types that find them funny, so most times, when I get into my car, it has something witty to say that I appreciate.
              • If I'm in a foul mood, it knows the right way to respond. For me, that means no jokes and just a short pithy saying in the tone that one would associate with Batman's butler.
              • If I'm not in a better mood within a couple minutes, it should offer further mood improvement options, based on my tendencies:
                1. If Sir cares for a stoogie, there is a convenience store that sells cigars just to your right in one mile.
                2. Sir might be interested to know there is an electronics store just two miles south of here.
                3. There is a gentleman's club ahead with free steak buffet and cheap liquor. If your majesty cares to indulge, I should be glad to send your bank a request to hold funds beyond $200 this evening and arrange for a cab to pick you up.
                4. The Duke of Earl might be interested to know that his weed supplier Kevin is still out on bond this week. Perhaps I should ring him for you?
              • Finally, there should be a little red button beside the hand break. When I press the button the robot should react as if being electrocuted. Short bursts should produce short whimpers then complaint. Longer bursts should produce howls mingled with sobbing and begging. A really long burst should produce incoherent screaming followed by lights out, no movement and no sound (simulated death.) Bonus points if the robot can simulate the voice of people I've talked to on the phone and answer to their name.

              Sick? Twisted? Maybe, but I suspect it would do wonders for my mood.

              Disclaimer: No, these are not really my tendencies
              • by GregPK (991973)
                This sir, is the best post I've read all week... If I had points I'd mod you to the moon for this.
              • by nizo (81281) *
                Finally, there should be a little red button....


                This would be awesome for scaring the hell out of would-be carjackers and people waiting at the bus stop.

              • Finally, there should be a little red button beside the hand break.

                ... and if you push it, the hand break doesn't break your hand, but puts the hand brake on instead.

          • by Thing 1 (178996)

            "door is open"

            Well, that reminded me of a "talking car" from a carpool back in the 80s, which would say "A door is ajar". We would respond with "No it's not, it's a door!"

            High school was fun. :)

      • by HTH NE1 (675604)
        I don't know if I saw it in a movie or it was the aforementioned Eddie Murphy bit or both, or I just came up with it myself long ago, but I have two related scenes in my head about this:

        Someone parked just opened his car door into traffic whereupon another car struck the door and ripped it off its hinges. Perhaps a car chase as the other car does not stop. The computer is saying calmly, "The door is ajar. The door is ajar," to the shocked driver.

        A later scene has him driving the car without the door and t
    • by g-san (93038)
      "You bastard! grumble... Cut me off... grumble grumble"

      "You look somehow angry! Why? Please to be calm!"

      "Shut up! I don't need to hear about it from you!"

      "Please to repeat last command. I am happy robot!"

      "Shut up!"

      "You look somehow angry! Why? Please to be calm!"

      "Shut the hell up!"

      "You look somehow angry! Why? Please to be calm!"
  • Ridin Shotgun (Score:2, Informative)

    Man this thing might cheer you up for a little while, but the novelty will quickly wear off, especially after you realize how much money you spent on your robot co-pilot.
  • Japanese (Score:3, Insightful)

    by youthoftoday (975074) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @07:50AM (#21139059) Homepage Journal
    This seems to be a feature of Japanese (and Chinese) technology, the idea of enforced 'happiness'. Smiling faces everywhere, bright colours garish colours and features. Perhaps this has only limited cultural relevance in the international market?
  • Pivo? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @07:51AM (#21139065)
    Isn't 'pivo' how you say 'uh oh' in Russian? (I tried to find a copy of the Sealab 2021 'uh oh' song online, but I can't now.)

    The cab that rotates is neat, but it seems it would be easier to just turn the car around than bother spinning the whole cab, driving out, then spinning it back. The tires are neat, but if you have a problem with the mechanism, I bet it's a bitch to find a mechanic that can fix it without charging an arm and a leg.

    Neat car, but I'm betting it stays 'concept' for quite a long time.
    • by Hackeron (704093)
      in Russian Pivo which is pronounced Pivo is Beer.
    • Electric drive, fly by wire - mechanically this can be vastly simpler than a conventional car. Sure, the mechanic will charge you an arm and a leg - but that's mostly because he can, and because you're the sort of person who is willing to pay for a perky droid in the dashboard, not because of any huge complexity in the repairable components.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      dunno... but its how you say "beer" in slovenian...
    • by drgonzo59 (747139)
      No. Pivo means 'beer'. Which actually would make me pretty happy. Just listening to that sweet 4 letter word....hm, I'll go grab another cold one from the fridge!

    • "pivo" nin russian means "beer"
  • 'We have data that happy drivers' accident rates are drastically lower than depressed ones, so this robot stays there to make sure the driver is happy always'

    "Driver, it has been noted that you seem to be unhappy, I am now administering a dose of happiness inducer No57, you will be happy citizen, compliance is mandatory."

    "You appear to have taken an unscheduled turn citizen, are you disobeying the Computer? Please note course change to direct you to the nearest termination facility, also note that driving l
    • For example, if the driver is irritated it might say 'Hey, you look somehow angry./quote? "you want happ ending?" Now that's how you ensure "happy" drivers.
    • Awesome Paranoia reference. I played a session this summer, before that I hadn't played it in 15 years.
    • I am very happy friend computer
    • > 'We have data that happy drivers' accident rates are drastically lower than depressed ones, so this robot stays there to make sure the driver is happy always'

      And where, pray tell, did they get this data? Chips implanted into people's brains? Asking people after an accident "Are you happy?"

      The happiest driver is a suicide bomber about to get his 72 virgins. Once the DHS gets this, they'll nuke anyone from orbit who is too happy because they just got a raise, a new baby, a blow job while sitting in

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 27, 2007 @08:02AM (#21139101)
    By the way, did they check happiness before or after accidents? I guess drivers who got home will be happier than those who had an accident..
    • I know that whenever I'm driving, and in a really happy mood, I tend to push that right pedal down a bit harder and don't watch out so vigilantly for motorcycle cops hiding behind the roadside trees.

      My defensive driving class is next Saturday :-/
  • We all know how fast new cars depreciate, and we also know the same is true (even more so) for electronic gadgets. So I predict if this ever goes into production it will be the fastest depreciating vehicle ever offered for sale.

    On the other hand, if the 'robotic head' can be legally used as the 'second person' for the car pool lanes they may be on to something...

  • Been done (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Oligonicella (659917) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @08:12AM (#21139127)
    Did no one learn anything from Clippy?
  • Cybersex (Score:5, Funny)

    by g253 (855070) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @08:12AM (#21139129) Homepage
    Ok, so how far exactly is this robot willing to go to keep me happy?
    • Hmmmm((... Thomas est amoureux:D???))
      - from an engineering point of view, all they need is a goose-neck extension and a suction cup and they're already tracking facial expressions - hmmmmmm...mind if I patent that???

  • and even check your e-mail. 'We have data that happy drivers' accident rates are drastically lower than depressed ones

    Checking my emails whilst I drive home isn't going to make me a happier driver, but will probably take my concentration away from that thing I was supposed to be doing. What was that again? Oh yeah, driving my car...

    Driving would probably be safer if it was a bit more like driving, and less like the office.

    Not to mention the fact that driving a Nissan isn't going to put a smile on anybody'

  • Well I guess since we all are in a joly mood I am going to add my point! ( oh yeah I know this will be modded down to hell! And I don't Care!)

    Ready all?

    Happy Happy Joy Joy
    Happy Happy Joy Joy
    Happy Happy Joy Joy
    Happy Happy ...
  • Fascism 2.0 (Score:1, Interesting)

    by marcello_dl (667940)
    Nevermind that whatever assistant is a distraction.
    The problem is that our society wants the truth to be masked. So you can dress as (we make) you want, say what (we make) you want, rebel as (we make) you want, as long as you are up against the minions like you.
    You look tired and older? get your face lifted.
    Pissed off in an airport? watch out, you're considered a terrorist.
    Feeling depressed? get drugs first, then we can discuss what makes you feel sad, but the objective is removing your depression so you ca
  • "For example, if the driver is irritated it might say 'Hey, you look somehow angry...'"

    "If it's any consolation, my life is great. Babes, bucks, I got it all."

  • Talk to the driver? not happy? next thing is should be releasing of some kind of gas that keeps the driver alert or releasing a scent that driver likes or offering a drink may be. advice: Don't use N2O.Never use porn :)
  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @08:52AM (#21139321)
    "He's your plastic dashboard pal who's fun to be with!"

    Chris Mattern
  • I, for one, welcome our new R2D2 knockoff overlords.
  • The only thing thats more annoying then a talking car is one that has a french accent.
  • "be nice!"

    "Shut up, stupid robot"

    POW.
    • by chord.wav (599850)
      Then, you should feel much better. Mission accomplished! In fact, that's what's they were supposed to do. Get drivers punches. That would be so much stress relieving than having to engage in conversation with it, we have enough non-wanted chat with our wives.
  • "Hi! It looks like you're driving an SUV with a cell phone plastered to the side of your head. Would you like help with that?"
  • redundant (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tolomea (1026104) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @09:30AM (#21139533)
    the car has a square footprint and the wheels turn through 90deg, by extension it should be trivial to turn the whole car on the spot, so why bother making the cabin independently movable?
    • the car has a square footprint and the wheels turn through 90deg, by extension it should be trivial to turn the whole car on the spot, so why bother making the cabin independently movable?
      Because a^2+b^2=c^2, and they want you park in a space that's only a^2 long and wide?
  • Can I get it installed in the trunk instead? Preferably skinned to look like a chimp?
  • by mattr (78516)
    Sliding in sideways and navigating into a parking spot looking straight at it was quite cool. That, and being able to just stand up and walk straight ahead right out of your car, were cool.

    The robot seemed neat, though I'd prefer a sexy British gal's voice; its voice seems designed to sound like the blue robot cat from the 24th century, Doraemon (which they should license as fast as they darned can). As I got to reading these comments though I liked the idea of slugging it too.

    When I sat in a car once in th
  • This is one of the most perfect examples I have seen of engineers coming up with something undeniably stupid and useless. How the hell is a talking robot going to make someone happy? Unless the driver is mentally retarded or a child, this is not going to work, and the last time I checked they don't let those people drive. This is right up there with internet-connected refrigerators that e-mail you when you are out of milk. Note to engineers: run your ideas through a common sense filter BEFORE you start deve
  • ...before I fork out on a car:

    1. chasing red lights under the front of the hood
    2. retractable spoilers and headlight modules
    3. rocket booster and kickflip pole/air cannon for those days when the eight foot wall is just in the way
    4. a talking car alarm (instead of the 110dB klaxon it pipes up with its psychologist-mode "Why did you feel the need to do that? Can we sit and talk about this?")
    5. headlight-mounted 30mm cannon and tail-mounted tyre spike dispenser
    6. autoinflate tyres
    7. anti-thief immobiliser (one
  • er, uh, sorry, fingers on autopilot there.

    Anyhow, this thing will sell like hot cakes in Russia.

    In Russia, "Pivo" means "beer".

    On the other hand, the "keep the driver happy" robot has one hell of a set of shoes to fill if it's gonna try to keep people as happy as beer.

    -F
  • This car will be released to consumers as soon as they work out a licensing deal with the Hello Kitty people.

  • Well it doesnt have to be that nerd r2d2 robot, it could be like this: http://www.realdoll.com/sample13.asp/ [realdoll.com] So when you are angry because your wife cheat on you, this robot is going to say shut up! and it will start to ... (ummm well put your best fantasy here)

  • From a certain office software...
  • A geek with a lot of imagination hacks the helper, uses a wig, some silicone, adding some more movement capability, and voila: we have a car with automated blowjobs. A happy end to getting bored in traffic jams. (a lot of accidents will surely follow)
  • Reminds me of this classic: http://www.happyfunball.com/hfb.html [happyfunball.com]
  • Electric Cars (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 27, 2007 @11:47AM (#21140357)
    Another motor show, another concept car with useless features. Has anyone noticed that these concept cars mostly never see the day on the road? I'd like to see these electric cars for sale but without the ridiculous design. Can't they just make a normal electric car? It's more like there is a consipiracy or something that the automakers continue to churn out these concept cars that no ordinary people will be willing to buy.

    I can't believe these companies waste so much money on developing hybrids, fuel cells, etc. but don't sell just a simple electric car with better batteries. There's no way the amount of energy generated from a vehicle would be more efficient than by power utility companies. If they are really serious about saving the environment as they claim, they must sell electric cars.
  • Sorry for the French (well, Quebecois...)but it is still worth the watch...

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=Cood3ZnRJk8 [youtube.com]

  • It looks like you've got road rage! Would you like some help?
  • Open the pod bay doors, Pivo-kun. ... Open the pod bay doors, Pivo-kun.
  • Most definitions* require a "robot"** to physically interact with it's environment using mechanical dexterity. I suppose we have to let this little guy into the robot club because it can nod and "smile" (thereby communicating with a human using mechanical means). I'm still inclined to call these*** machines "mechanical-visual interfaces", IMHO.

    * Robot [wikipedia.org] mentions that there are so many robots in Japan partially because Japan's definition of the word is looser than others.

    ** Gone are the days when robots
  • 'We have data that happy drivers' accident rates are drastically lower than depressed ones, so this robot stays there to make sure the driver is happy always,'

    Just add a pr0n projector to the windshield!

    Hmmm, on second thought, maybe that's not such a good idea.
  • by AmazingRuss (555076) on Saturday October 27, 2007 @03:42PM (#21142051)
    ...when I drive. I NEED a machine to man the chain gun so I can concentrate on maneuvering.
  • .. is Unicron.
  • Carbot: 'Hey, you look somehow angry. Why? Please calm down.'
    Billco: 'Good idea, shitbot!'
    (smashes carbot)
    Billco: 'I feel so much calmer now. Time to run over some kids!'
  • For an extra $200 you can get it with the Whac-A-Robot upgrade. The robot hides for a random time lapse and the n pops up talking like you see on the video for you to blast it with the provided hammer in the next second. That'll sure keep you alert and happy.
  • Me: Damn it! Get out of my way! Learn to drive. ARGH!!!!
    Robot: Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays...

    Firey explosion ensues from ramming the car into a tree to make it all stop.
  • ...will I be able to pull a fuse to disable this like all the other useless driver nannying/annoying crap I don't want?

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