Forget self-driving cars; Nissan and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland (EPFL) have teamed up to work on mind-reading vehicle technology. Truly hands-free driving may not be too far off.
Thought control via brain machine interface isn't a new idea—EPFL researchers are already working on mind-reading wheelchair systems. But the concentration levels required to control thought-reading systems is extremely high, which is why EPFL and Nissan are working on a device that uses statistical analysis to predict a driver's next move.
The system monitors brain activity, eye movement, and the surrounding environment to predict whether a driver plans to, say, make a right turn, speed up, or change lanes on the highway. "The idea is to blend driver and vehicle intelligence together in such a way that eliminates conflicts between them, leading to a safer motoring environment," explained Professor José del R. Millán of EPFL in a statement.
As with self-driving cars, we imagine that there are still a number of kinks to work out. What happens if the brain machine interface malfunctions and misreads brain activity? Could the system be infected by a virus? It will be a while before anyone has the chance to find out. Nissan hasn't yet given any estimates as to when the technology might be ready for real-world vehicle testing. So send good thoughts.