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Honda to create 'emotion engine'

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SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son says the company will work with Honda to create cars that read emotion.
SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son says the company will work with Honda to create cars that read emotion.

Honda plans to use artificial intelligence (AI) to forge bonds between car owners and their cars.

The motoring company is partnering with tech firm Softbank to develop technology that will allow cars to converse with drivers, and "read their emotions".

The announcement comes after SoftBank last week agreed to buy British chip designer ARM Holdings for $32 billion.

Reuters reported SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son spoke at an event in Tokyo and described a future in which Honda cars could speak and interact with their drivers via cloud-based technology based on SoftBank's "Pepper" robot, a life-sized robot that can read human emotions.

It will be called the "emotion engine" and will allow the car to talk to drivers and sense their emotions.

The vehicle will gather information to do this from various sensors and cameras around the car.

It will then be able to give advice to drivers and provide company. The car will learn over time how the particular driver reacts and adapt to the person.

"By letting mobility products 'grow up' while sharing various experiences with their drivers, the project will strive to enable drivers to experience the feeling that their mobility product has become a good partner and thus form a stronger emotional attachment toward it," Honda said in a statement.

The motoring company will open up an R&D centre in September to work on this project and other intelligent technology developments. It will be called the Honda R&D Innovation Lab Tokyo.

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