Thinking Tech

Smart car: Nissan designing mind-reading vehicle

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Nissan has partnered with a technology institute in Switzerland to develop an innovative car that can read minds.

EPFL

Before long, cars may be predicting your every move. Nissan Motors has partnered with École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), a leading technology institute in Switzerland, to develop a car that can read minds, and perhaps respond accordingly. These anticipatory automobiles of the future would adjust speed and positioning in response to a driver's thought about an upcoming turn or lane change. Such an innovation could improve safety and enhance the driver's experience. Nissan researcher Lucian Gheorghe, who is working on the project, said that through the collaboration they hope to, "find engineering solutions that will bring us close to providing easy access to personal mobility for everyone."

In order to do so, the team of scientists aims to further develop Brain Machine Interface (BMI)--a technology that EPFL scientists have already used in wheelchairs. The futuristic vehicles will employ a combination of brain activity measurement, eye movement patterns and car sensors to better prepare for and respond to everything on the road. According to project leader José del R. Millán, an EPFL professor, “the idea is to blend driver and vehicle intelligence together in such a way that eliminates conflicts between them."

Though thought control via BMI processes has been well-developed, there are some roadblocks (pun intended) that must be addressed before it can be applied to motor vehicles. The current systems require a very high level of concentration to function properly, but the ones that Nissan and EPFL are working would have to independently predict driver's intentions. These systems of the future would have to use statistical analysis to anticipate and evaluate driver plans.

Let's hope the science doesn't get too perfect, lest backseat drivers find themselves literally driven off cliffs!

[via The Guardian]

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Jenny Wilson

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Jenny Wilson is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. She has written for Time.com and Swimming World Magazine and served stints at The American Prospect and The Atlantic Monthly magazines. She is currently pursuing a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure