Eye-tracking pioneer Smart Eye acquires MIT spin-off Affectiva to augment driver monitoring systems and more

Emotion-detection software start-up Affectiva acquired for $73.5M (TechCrunch):

Smart Eye, the publicly traded Swedish company that supplies driver monitoring systems for a dozen automakers, has acquired emotion-detection software startup Affectiva for $73.5 million in a cash-and-stock deal.

Affectiva, which spun out of the MIT Media Lab in 2009, has developed software that can detect and understand human emotion, which Smart Eye is keen to combine with its own AI-based eye-tracking technology. The companies’ founders see an opportunity to expand beyond driver monitoring systems — tech that is often used in conjunction with advanced driver assistance systems to track and measure awareness — and into the rest of the vehicle. Together, the technology could help them break into the emerging “interior sensing” market, which can be used to monitor the entire cabin of a vehicle and deliver services in response to the occupant’s emotional state … The opportunity will initially be in passenger vehicles driven by humans and will eventually expand as greater levels of automated driving enter the market.

The Announcement:

Smart Eye Acquires Affectiva to Solidify Stronghold on Interior Sensing Market (press release):

The companies are merging to create a transatlantic AI juggernaut that will lead and accelerate the growth and development of the rapidly evolving automotive Interior Sensing market, as well as the Media Analytics and Human Factors Research markets.

Smart Eye has over two decades of experience building AI-based eye tracking and delivering automotive-grade Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS), as proven by 84 production contracts with 12 of the 20 largest global OEMs. Spun out of MIT Media Lab in 2009, Emotion AI pioneer Affectiva has, in recent years, broadened its technology to in-cabin sensing, using machine learning and computer vision to gain a deep, human-centric understanding of what is happening in a vehicle … The integration of Affectiva’s AI with Smart Eye’s eye tracking systems can provide human factors researchers and marketers with a more holistic and insightful view of people’s behaviors.

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