Nissan is working with Swiss scientists to develop a car that reads its driver’s mind to anticipate his or her next maneuver. Intended to balance the necessity of safety with the demands of personal transport, the motor company is collaborating with the French École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (E.P.F.L.) where scientists “have already developed brain-machine interface systems that allow wheelchair users to manoeuvre their chairs by thought transference.” They are looking for ways to incorporate that technology into the automobile industry.
What’s the Big Idea?
The goal of the project is to blend driver and vehicle intelligence, reducing the conflicts between them. If successful, cars of the future could “prepare themselves for a left or right turn—choosing the correct speed and positioning—by gauging that their drivers are thinking about making such a turn.” One large obstacle in developing the technology is that a high degree of human concentration is needed for machines to read brainwaves. To augment that capability, researchers will instruct the machine to read the driver’s eye movement and the environment outside the car.