Does all this talk of autonomous driving bother you? Are you afraid the fun of driving will disappear, since the car will be driving for you? What if I told you, one vehicle manufacturer is developing a technology that will enhance driving by reading your mind? Well, not really reading your mind, as the developer explains, but by reading your brain waves.
Nissan is the company experimenting with brainwave technology, also known as Brain-to-Vehicle, or B2V, and will be demonstrating it at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. It is an outgrowth of technologies developed to operate prosthetic limbs, and it won’t actually drive the car in its current concept, but will reduce reaction time by beginning a vehicle motion in the split seconds before the action is initiated physically. The technology could make for easier lane changes, or even avoid crashes.
How Does it Work?
In its current level of development, the driver wears a skullcap full of electrodes, an Electro Encephalograph (EEG), which reads brain activity during driving. By analyzing brainwave activity in various parts of the brain while driving a car, a predictive model can be built, which can then anticipate your actions when a similar brain wave pattern is next encountered. Autonomous driving components are used to begin a turn, or put on the brakes, up to a half second prior to your physical action.
The technology is being envisioned as part of a fully autonomous system, where the driver would be able to select from a range of driving modes, from fully autonomous to fully manual with the B2V assist. Nissan Project Manager, Lucian Gheroghe, who is the lead developer on this project, and holds a PhD in applied neural technology, indicates the action the car takes will probably be imperceptible to the driver. He foresees a time, however, when the vehicle will be able to detect your mood, and adjust lighting, music, and driving style to enhance your mood. He states: “Driving pleasure is something as humans we should not lose.”
This certainly represents a different take on the autonomous driving developments that are in currently the news being developed by Alphabet, Inc., and Apple, among others. Other than that, very little is being revealed about the inner workings of B2V, and how this tech may be applied, but stay tuned.
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