Nissan car technology will read drivers' brain waves
- Nissan announced it is working on technology that would allow a vehicle to harness and analyze the driver's brain waves to make independent operating decisions.
- The driver wears a wired skullcap that measures brain wave activity and the vehicle's autonomous systems interprets the signals. The brain-to-vehicle (B2V) technology predicts a driver's next actions with the goal of improving response times by fractions of a second. It also monitors the driver's comfort level and can automatically alter the environment elements, such as temperature, within the cabin.
- The B2V technology will be available in fully autonomous vehicles (AV) so drivers can switch back and forth between driving types.
While some sectors of the automobile industry are pushing hard to advance driverless vehicle technology, with this project Nissan keeps a foot in the traditional driven-vehicle space, but with a unique twist. This concept appears to be a type of co-driving system, where neither the driver nor the vehicle completely dominates operations.
The skullcap picks up signals that the driver is going to take action — such as braking or turning — and then it automatically begins that action 0.2 to 0.5 seconds before the driver executes the move. Times improves slightly as the technology adapts more to the driver. The autonomous operations are too quick for drivers to really perceive, but they could improve response times, and therefore safety.
Nissan believes the B2V technology makes the driving experience more fun and personal for the driver, compared with fully autonomous vehicles. Like other devices with artificial intelligence, vehicles with B2V will use adaptive learning to cater to user habits and preferences; Nissan believes that will make driving more enjoyable. Eventually the company believes it might be able to safely use augmented reality to alter what a driver sees and create a more relaxing driving experience. In the short term, B2V appears to be a decent way for the company to improve upon driver assistance features.
Nissan will officially introduce its B2V technology next week at the CES 2018 conference, where visitors will get a chance to use simulators that demonstrate how it works. It should appear in Nissan's AVs in five to 10 years.
Follow Katie Pyzyk on Twitter