Hyundai CRADLE (Center for Robotic-augmented Design in Living Experiences) announced it is investing in Perceptive Automata to develop artificial intelligence (AI) software for self-driving cars and automated systems. Perceptive Automata has developed software that gives autonomous vehicles the ability to understand the state-of-mind of people, including pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists. The predictive technology is designed to enable automated vehicles to make rapid judgments about the intentions and awareness of people on the street. This is intended to give machines unprecedented human-like intuition. See below for a video of the technology.

Perceptive Automata's core technology takes sensor data from vehicles that show interactions with people. This data is used to train deep learning models to interpret human behavior the way people do. Hyundai says the end result is AI software that can be integrated into autonomous driving systems. With the software installed, autonomous vehicles can anticipate what pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists might do next.

"We are ecstatic to have an investor on board like Hyundai that understands the importance of the problem we are solving for self-driving cars and next-generation driver assistance systems," said Sid Misra, Co-founder and CEO of Perceptive Automata. "Hyundai is one of the biggest automakers in the world, and having them back our technology is incredibly validating."

Perceptive Automata's software is particularly useful if a pedestrian begins to cross the street but sees the approaching autonomous car and decides to stop and “wave” it on. In this situation, an autonomous vehicle without the software would stop and wait, even though the pedestrian has no intention to cross. Perceptive Automata's software is designed to be able to read the pedestrian's intent and pass this information to the autonomous system's decision-making module.

"One of the biggest hurdles facing autonomous vehicles is the inability to interpret the critical visual cues about human behavior that human drivers can effortlessly process," said John Suh, Vice President of Hyundai CRADLE. "Perceptive Automata is giving the AV industry the tools to deploy autonomous vehicles that understand more like humans, creating a safer and smoother driving experience."