We're a long way from Ford and Microsoft's EVA
and her soothingly monotone stream of helpfulness, but it seems Ford is already prepping her for a dose of... feeling. The company has filed a patent called "Emotive Text-to-Speech System and Method" describing a system that can not only simulate emotion when reading out directions and describing traffic problems, but could also detect the emotion of the operator of the car and interact with them in ways designed to, oh, soothe a little road rage. The avatar is said to "appear to become frustrated" if the driver is a lead-foot, and may say "Your driving is hurting my fuel efficiency." Or, if a driver is going too fast, the dash-bound assistant could turn blue, ask what's wrong, and suggest a more direct route to their destination. It all sounds terrifically annoying, and we can only hope this disembodied nag will be a little easier to deactivate than 2001's HAL -- and a little less prone to singing, too.