Steering a Car via Mind Control
Nissan just announced a new project that involves using brain waves to control your vehicle. Dubbing the technology as “brain-to-vehicle” aka B2V, the Japanese automaker plans to unveil the prototype already well in the works this coming week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. They intend to use brain-decoding technology to predict a driver's next move which can put that decision into play 0.2-0.5 seconds quicker than a human is physically capable of performing. Although, the fraction of a second increase seems like nothing, it will actually improve safety by helping speed up important reaction times. Used primarily to help with braking, steering, and accelerating, it would be a unique “hands off, mind on” approach to controlling a vehicle.
The driver will wear a device (currently resembling a skullcap with protruding electrodes) that will allow the brain wave activity to be interpreted by an autonomous system. The new device will perform and function in much the same way as the technology behind the electroencephalography, or EEG, which is essentially a method of monitoring electrical activity in the brain. EEGs have been used for everything from something as inconsequential as videogames to things much more complex and important like medical testing. This specific technology is quite obviously the first of its kind and although they will present it at the show, it won't be completely ready for at least another five years.
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Critics are somewhat baffled by Nissan's announcement, mostly due to the fact that autonomous cars seem to be the wave of the future and something like this is almost archaic in the fact that it puts the power back into the hands (or in this case, the mind) of the driver. Nissan, however, defends their brainchild by pointing out that although the majority of vehicles will be autonomous, manual driving should still be “a value of society. In fact, people may choose to use the “brain-to-vehicle” technology as a way to seek joy, in it's most basic sense, allowing for a “joyride.” In fact, the new tech will only be allowed in autonomous vehicles due to safety concerns, so in the event that the driver is uncomfortable, the car can be switched over to the autonomous driving system. The autonomous system will also most likely be able to override the flagship tech if faced with a dangerous or unsafe driving situation.
Nissan also firmly believes the technology will actually enhance the autonomous driving experience. Most people look at autonomous driving as an polarizing impersonal experience “where humans relinquish control to the machines,” as so eloquently stated by Nissan's Executive Vice President, Daniele Schillaci. With the B2V technology, Nissan is actually bringing the person back into the driving process, allowing brain waves to be interpreted and driving style adjusted in an effort to provide the most enjoyable experience possible for the driver. It really is an ingenious idea, the true mixing of man and machine to create an ideal driving environment. A1 Auto Transport is excited to watch the coverage at the CES this coming week and see exactly how this technology plays out, and if it is as truly amazing as Nissan claims.