Nissan Touts Brain Connectivity As Driving Aid

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Lets hope it is keyless entry, as Nissan research says cars in future will tap into signals from the driver’s brain

Nissan has revealed new research which it says will improve the way us pesky humans will interact with our cars in the future.

Nissan’s Brain-to-Vehicle, or B2V, technology will essentially allow cars to interpret signals from the driver’s brain, in an effort to speed up reaction speeds, or adjust the car’s environment to better suit the human.

The development comes as carmakers increasingly seek ways to make their cars more intelligent.

brain

Brain Connectivity

Thankfully, being able to plug a human’s brain into the car seems to be a lot less painful than it sounds.

The driver wears a device (i.e. skullcap) that reads the “special firings” of brain waves that occur as an action is being envisioned, which is then analysed by autonomous systems. The car will thus use this information to augment the actions of the car and “make driving more enjoyable.”

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It is thought that by anticipating intended movement, the systems can take actions – such as turning the steering wheel or slowing the car – 0.2 to 0.5 seconds faster than the driver, while remaining largely imperceptible to the human driver.

Nissan said it would demonstrate capabilities of this exclusive technology at the CES 2018 trade show in Las Vegas.

“When most people think about autonomous driving, they have a very impersonal vision of the future, where humans relinquish control to the machines,” said Nissan Executive VP Daniele Schillaci.

“Yet B2V technology does the opposite, by using signals from their own brain to make the drive even more exciting and enjoyable. Through Nissan Intelligent Mobility, we are moving people to a better world by delivering more autonomy, more electrification and more connectivity.”

Essentially, this ‘brain connectivity’ research will be used as part of Nissan’s brain decoding technology to predict a driver’s actions and detect discomfort.

For example, it can help with predictions, by catching signs that the driver’s brain is about to initiate a movement (i.e. turning the steering wheel or pushing the accelerator pedal). When it detect this, it will utilise driver assist technologies to begin the action more quickly, in an effort to “improve reaction times and enhance manual driving.”

It can also be used to detect and evaluate driver discomfort, and the car’s embedded artificial intelligence can then change the driving configuration or driving style when in autonomous mode.

But other possible uses include adjusting the vehicle’s internal environment, said Dr. Lucian Gheorghe, senior innovation researcher at the Nissan Research Center in Japan. For example, the technology can use augmented reality to adjust what the driver sees and create a more relaxing environment.

“The potential applications of the technology are incredible,” Gheorghe said. “This research will be a catalyst for more Nissan innovation inside our vehicles in the years to come.”

Clever Cars

Nissan is not the only carmaker looking at making cars more intelligent.

In December 2016 BMW teamed up with IBM so their respective researchers could apply artificial intelligence (AI) to explore how cars will be driven in the future.

Specifically, IBM Watson will be integrated into a number of specially adapted BMW i8 hybrid sports cars, so the researchers can discover how Watson will enable a new more personalised driving experience in the years to come.

Google meanwhile has already created a driverless car company called Waymo, as it seeks the holy grail of self driving cars, as well as self-configuring cars, where the vehicle can adapt itself to a driver’s personal preferences.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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