Image 1 - Will Your Next Car Be Controlled By Your Mind?
September 30, 2011

Will Your Next Car Be Controlled By Your Mind?

Scientists from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland (EPFL), have previously developed a system for the disabled to maneuver wheelchairs by thought transference alone. Nissan Motor Company is now experimenting with the next level of this technology which could lead to vehicles that you can control with your thoughts.

Jose del Millan, the EPFL researcher leading the project, said in a statement: “The idea is to blend driver and vehicle intelligence together in such a way that eliminates conflict between them, leading to a safer motoring environment.”

Researchers from EPFL have developed brain-machine interface (BMI) systems that theoretically could operate complex machines such as vehicles but at this time the levels of human concentration needed to make operate it are extremely high.

Future systems will use statistical analysis to predict a driver´s next move and to “evaluate a driver´s cognitive state relevant to the driving environment”, The Guardian is reporting.

Lucian Gheorghe, Nissan mobility researcher with a degree in computer science and artificial intelligence from Kobe University, Japan, believes the joint project could benefit both scientists and motorists.

“Brain wave analysis has helped me understand driver burden in order to reduce driver stress,” he said. “During our collaboration with EPFL, I believe we will not only be able to contribute to the scientific community but we will also find engineering solutions that will bring us close to providing easy access to personal mobility for everyone.”

To achieve the complex decision making that a car in traffic entails, the system must measure brain activity, eye movement patterns, and the environment around the car to predict actions and reactions to help the driver make decisions and act on them.

The idea of cars that help drivers get along down the road isn´t entirely new. Earlier this year a group of German researchers built a brain-controlled system car that turns left and right using brain waves.

An EPFL spokesman told AFP that the research would last four years, and that “at the end of that period, we hope to have a prototype ready.”.


On the Net: