Mindful Driving: How We Improve the Mood of Porsche Drivers Through Neuroadaptive Personalization

Porsche AG
#NextLevelGermanEngineering
6 min readApr 20, 2021

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In collaboration with the London-based start-up Maaind, Porsche is working on two projects that allow Porsche drivers to relieve stress and increase mindfulness — and take the individual Porsche experience to a whole new level. Project Lead Lars Krämer explains how the products work.

718 Boxster GTS 4.0; Fuel consumption combined: 10,8–9,6 l/100 km246–219 g/km

Technological progress often translates into increased speed. A car is faster than a carriage, an e-mail faster than a letter. The paradox: Despite saving time, technological progress has also accelerated our everyday lives. An e-mail, for example, is written and sent faster than a letter — but we now write many more messages than in previous decades.

The acceleration of daily life can trigger stress — and has therefore sparked a new lifestyle of deceleration. Meditation, mindfulness, work-life balance: many people are now paying more attention to their health and their time. For younger generations, in particular, true luxury will be less connotated with the possession of physical goods but with relationships, experiences, and feelings.

We asked ourselves: How can a Porsche not only provide adrenaline on the road but also make us feel relaxed — depending on the mood a driver is in? To develop a personalized feel-good level to the driving experience, we teamed up with the start-up Maaind. The London-based company is an expert in the field of neuroadaptive technologies. Their algorithms analyze speech and data from wearables and can thus implicitly and continuously measure mental states. We started working with Maaind on two projects to learn more about the potential of the technology.

Our idea: A Porsche as your personal comfort zone

The Feel-Good-Coach analyzes your wellbeing

Our first project is called Feel-Good-Coach. It detects a driver’s current mood and stress level by analyzing several data sources such as the voice or heart rate, which are collected by wearables. The collected data is then processed by a so-called neuroadaptive system. A neuroadaptive system continuously measures the neuronal, mental, psychological, or other relevant physiological states of an individual and can then adapt services according to the detected mental state.

In the case of our Feel-Good-Coach various breathing and meditation exercises are offered to our customers. When the driver parks or stops to charge the car, the Feel-Good-Coach recommends eye and body exercises to help the user stay focused. Or imagine you are stuck in a traffic jam — and your car helps you to stay relaxed and relieve stress. The Feel-Good-Coach is able to differentiate between different moods and provide drivers with the perfect content for each situation.

The prototype offers various exercises

The Feel Good Coach captures speech during occasional ‘check-ins, where the driver is prompted to speak about a casual topic like sports or their goals, for example. Currently, those ‘check-ins” take about 30 seconds, though the time can also be decreased. Even though it works and might be the solution in the end, we were also interested to find another way of capturing speech data in the in-car setting.

So, what did we come up with? Singing! We were skeptical at first because Porsche drivers love the sound of their engines. Do they even want to hear anything else? The answer is yes, especially our Porsche drivers in China love singing along to songs in the car, as we found out in a survey of our customers. Yet it depends primarily on their personal mood. And this is when we had the idea for a second joint project.

An in-car-DJ that knows what songs help you to raise your spirits

Our Mood DJ Prototype

But back to the survey. One Porsche driver summed it up in a nutshell: “In the morning I take the fastest route on the autobahn. In the evening I enjoy the drive on the country roads. For me, it is like a distraction from the stressful workday. I turn on my Spotify playlist and can easily organize this free time myself. And when I get out of my Porsche in the evening, I feel better than when I got in the car before.” So, our second project with Maaind was born: The Mood DJ.

This product playfully increases well-being by encouraging drivers to sing. Drivers do not receive points for singing correctly, but for how happy and calm they are while doing so. In fact, for the analysis we do not even need to know what you are singing; we’re only analyzing the voice pattern. Mood DJ was developed using machine learning algorithms that enable automatic song selection in real-time based on a driver’s mental state. The idea of the project is to create a personalized and playful entertainment experience that has a positive impact on the state of mind of vehicle occupants — and puts a smile on your face in every situation. Think of it like going to your favorite club and the DJ knows exactly what you need to hear to lift your spirits.

A safe state of flow, regardless of the speed of everyday life

Both projects, Feel-Good Coach and Mood DJ, have been tested so far internally at Porsche and in market research studies in China and Germany. Based on the positive response, our teams are now investigating the further development of the existing concepts and apps to the point of possible production readiness or as a stand-alone product. The challenge is to test the product safely so that it is not a distraction for the driver, but rather brings them into a positive flow state.

This can be achieved in several ways, and we are currently exploring this with Maaind. For example, some exercises have a calming and relaxing effect on the driver, while others have a stimulating or waking up effect. The goal is to keep the driver in as optimal a state as possible so that they are neither too calm nor sleepy, nor too agitated or over-energetic.

We are very excited about all the possibilities coming with neuroadaptive technologies. Besides wellbeing, it could also be used for comfort purposes like seat adjustments and light controls or even safety features.

Lars Kraemer, Innovation Manager at Porsche AG

Lars Kraemer is Innovation Manager at Porsche AG.

About this publication: Where innovation meets tradition. There’s more to Porsche than sports cars — we’re tackling new challenges, develop digital products and think digital with a focus on the customer. On our Medium blog, we tell these stories. It´s about our #nextvisions, smart technologies and the people that drive our digital journey.

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Porsche AG
#NextLevelGermanEngineering

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