By Kirsten Korosec
Smart Eye, the publicly traded Swedish company that supplies driver monitoring systems for a dozen automakers, has acquired emotion-detection software startup Affectiva for $73.5 million in a cash-and-stock deal.
Affectiva, which spun out of the MIT Media Lab in 2009, has developed software that can detect and understand human emotion, which Smart Eye is keen to combine with its own AI-based eye-tracking technology. The companies’ founders see an opportunity to expand beyond driver monitoring systems — tech that is often used in conjunction with advanced driver assistance systems to track and measure awareness — and into the rest of the vehicle. Together, the technology could help them break into the emerging “interior sensing” market, which can be used to monitor the entire cabin of a vehicle and deliver services in response to the occupant’s emotional state.
Under the terms of the deal, $67.5 million will be paid with 2,354,668 new Smart Eye shares, of which 2,015,626 are to be issued upon closing of the transaction. The remaining 339,042 Smart Eye shares will be issued within two years of closing. About $6 million will be paid in cash once the deal closes in June 2021.