Article Credit goes to Motherjones
No hands? No problem—soon you’ll be able to control a vehicle with your mind.
“What we are preparing is a vehicle that is ready for brain connectivity,” said Lucian Gheorghe, Nissan’s senior innovation researcher, in a video published January 3 ahead of the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
The Japanese automaker calls it brain-to-vehicle (B2V) technology.
“Nissan is the very first manufacturer that is bringing real-time brain activity in vehicles as a means of enhancing driving pleasure and the experience in autonomous-driving vehicles,” said Gheorghe.
He explained that the company is using “specific measuring devices” and algorithms to understand brain signals, then feeding that information back into its autonomous vehicles (AVs). The technology is being developed at the Nissan Research Center in Atsugi, Japan, about 30 miles south of Tokyo, and is part of the company’s Intelligent Mobility—an innovation stream that envisions the future of driving.
Most automakers are in an arms race to develop AVs that take drivers and their fallible driving skills out of the equation, so it might seem counterintuitive to make a self-driving car that relies heavily on human brain activity. But if the forum Nissan will be showcasing this technology—CES—is any indication, it should be taken with a grain of salt. Many of the technologies unveiled at CES are often long-term projects and moonshots.
Still, it’s not that far removed from possibility. Brain-computer interfaces are becoming more common across a number of high-tech fields, including robotics, prosthetics, and experimental medicine. The video on YouTube shows brain-monitoring devices strapped to people’s heads while they do driving simulations. Gheorghe lurks behind the test subjects holding a tablet computer that can “see” into their brains. He then explains the technology is “decoding” the motor cortex—the part of the frontal lobe responsible for planning, controlling, and executing voluntary movements—in real time.