Affectiva raises $26M for human perception AI


Affectiva, a Boston-based developer of emotional AI and human perception AI, closed $26 million in funding. This brings the company’s total amount of capital funding raised to $53 million.

The round was led by Aptiv PLC, Trend Forward Capital, Motley Fool Ventures and CAC. Affectiva says it will use the funding will enable Affectiva to scale its human perception AI that is used in the automotive and social robotics markets, as well as in conversation interfaces and market research.

Affectiva says its Human Perception AI can detect nuanced emotions as well as complex cognitive states, activities, interactions and objects people use. Affectiva recently shared this example about how its Human Perception AI could come in handy for autonomous vehicles:

“When there’s no longer a human driver behind the wheel, how will we ensure the well-being of the people in that vehicle? What will happen if a rider is uncomfortable or in need of assistance? How do these mobility providers establish their brand that hinges on a stellar passenger experience? The vehicle will need to be able to take stock of passengers’ state based on what they’re doing, their expressions, the environment and objects they’re interacting with, and a range of other factors, in order to be able to provide a safe and comfortable experience.”

Related: March 2019 Robotics Investments Top $1.3B

Affectiva will use its latest round of funding to fuel deployment of its Human Perception AI in production vehicles. It already has partnerships with OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, ride-sharing providers, fleet management companies and developers of autonomous vehicles.

“As our technology has evolved to detect more than just emotions, the automotive industry will be able to build intelligent vehicles that can better adapt and relate to the needs of people inside of them,” said Dr. Rana el Kaliouby, co-founder and CEO of Affectiva.

“We are working closely with Affectiva to commercialize advanced sensing solutions that enhance perception systems inside the vehicle,” said David Paja, Aptiv’s senior vice president and president of Advanced Safety & User Experience.

“Human perception AI will unlock a deep understanding of the human experience in vehicles and other facets of our everyday lives,” Dr. el Kaliouby continues. “Particularly for conversational interfaces, social robots and smart devices, Human Perception AI will be key in making interactions between people and AI more effective, relational and productive. Ultimately, that level of understanding will also foster mutual trust between people and AI, which is crucial as AI takes on more roles in society.”