The carmaker will show off its latest developments in what’s called “brain-to-vehicle,” or B2V technology at CES. Nissan says B2V “will enable vehicles to interpret signals from the driver’s brain, redefining how people interact with their cars.” The technology “promises to speed up reaction times for drivers and will lead to cars that keep adapting to make driving more enjoyable.”
We saw that on Star Trek once. The original Star Trek, with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.
Drivers wear a device, like a skull cap with wires, that measures brain wave activity. The activity is analyzed by on-board autonomous systems. The “brain decoding technology” can tell when you’re about to stomp on the brakes and will stomp on the brakes for you before you would normally be able to do it – 0.2 to 0.5 second faster, while the system itself is supposed to remain “largely imperceptible.” Well, imperceptible except for all those wires coming out of your head.
“By catching signs that the driver’s brain is about to initiate a movement – such as turning the steering wheel or pushing the accelerator pedal – driver assist technologies can begin the action more quickly,” Nissan said. “This can improve reaction times and enhance manual driving.”
That’s fine as long as the driver’s anticipated action is the right thing to do at that moment. What if the driver is about to make a mistake? Will doing it faster be better? That question is not addressed yet by Nissan.
For autonomous driving, it can tell when the driver is “experiencing discomfort” and can adjust the driving configuration or driving style. It can even change the car’s internal environment. That means rather than you looking out at traffic backed up on the Lincoln Tunnel or on Tokyo’s traffic-clogged Metropolitan Expressway No.1, in autonomous mode you could be driving up California’s scenic Highway 1 or maybe the Blue Ridge Parkway. Doesn’t that sound nice?
“The potential applications of the technology are incredible,” said Dr. Lucian Gheorghe, senior innovation researcher at Nissan Research Center in Japan, who is leading the B2V research. “This research will be a catalyst for more Nissan innovation inside our vehicles in the years to come.”
The research is part of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, which is supposed to “transform how cars are driven, powered and integrated into society.”
The system will be on display at the Nissan stand next week at CES. I will try to try it out for myself and report back. Unless it steals my brain. Aiyeeee!!!