Driverless cars may be our future, but that doesn’t mean automakers have turned their backs on flesh-and-blood motorists. Now Nissan has come up with a technology designed to make driving more fun for the folks behind the wheel: a “brain decoding” system that gives automobiles the ability to anticipate a driver’s action — hit the brakes or gas or make a turn — and then initiate the action before he or she does.
Dubbed “Brain To Vehicle,” or “B2V,” the system uses an electrode-studded skullcap to capture the driver’s brain activity and artificial intelligence to interpret it.
B2V detects brain signals that will trigger the movement of the driver’s hands or feet a moment before the movement begins. Thus, reaction times are cut by as much as half a second, the company said in a written statement. The driver turns the wheel and pushes the pedals as usual — but with an enhanced sense of nimbleness and control.
“When most people think about autonomous driving, they have a very impersonal vision of the future, where humans relinquish control to the machines,” Daniele Schillaci, an executive vice president at Nissan, said in the statement, adding that “B2V technology does the opposite.”
When the car is in self-driving mode, the same system can monitor the driver for signs of discomfort and take corrective action. If he or she is too hot, for instance, the system could crank up the air conditioner and change the position of the air vents.
Consumers will get a chance to see for themselves whether the system works as claimed. Nissan plans to use a driving simulator to demonstrate B2V at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.