Nissan has shown off new technology that enables cars to interpret the brain signals from their drivers. Dubbed Brain-to-Vehicle, or B2V by Nissan, the technology “promises to speed up reaction times for drivers and will lead to cars that keep adapting to make driving more enjoyable.”
Nissan Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci outlines the company's research aims saying: “When most people think about autonomous driving, they have a very impersonal vision of the future, where humans relinquish control to the machines. Yet B2V technology does the opposite, by using signals from their own brain to make the drive even more exciting and enjoyable. Through Nissan Intelligent Mobility, we are moving people to a better world by delivering more autonomy, more electrification and more connectivity.”
The technology would work by picking up signals from the driver's brain that a movement is about to occur. This might be turning the wheel - once the brain registers that action is about to occur, the driver assist technology can begin the action more quickly. In theory this, in turn, can improve reaction times and enhance manual driving. The technology can begin the intended movements 0.2 to 0.5 seconds faster than the driver.
Nissan hopes for a wider application of the tech
Nissan says there are other applications to the technology such as adjusting the interior of the car to make it more relaxing or appealing to the driver.
Dr. Lucian Gheorghe, senior innovation researcher at the Nissan Research Center in Japan who leads the B2V research suggests augmented reality to even be used to adjust what the driver sees inside the car. “The potential applications of the technology are incredible,” Gheorghe said. “This research will be a catalyst for more Nissan innovation inside our vehicles in the years to come.” For the system to work, the driver of the car wears a device that measures their brain activity. This information is analyzed but the autonomous systems. The way this information is used could be anticipating driver movements as well as gathering information on driver style.
In addition to showcasing the B2V technology, Nissan will show its all-new Nissan Leaf and its all-electric, fully autonomous IMx concept vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
The NissanLeaf which is already on sale in Japan is packed with new embedded technologies such as ProPilot which reduces the micro adjustments needed by drivers making journies safer and more enjoyable. The IMx has the full still concept version of ProPilot which put the car's steering wheel away and reclines the driver's and passengers' seats so they can fully relax and enjoy their autonomous driving experience. The car is also designed to act as a power source for its owner's home. Nissan is committed to developing autonomous features in all its cars as well as continuing to pursue a fully autonomous driving experience through vehicles such as the IMx.