Nissan’s future cars could tap into your brain to improve driving comfort

The future of Nissan cars could involve interfacing with our brains, as the Japanese car maker has revealed research it has been carrying out on brain-to-vehicle interactions.

What may sound like the fevered dreams of sci-fi enthusiasts, Nissan is set to showcase the work it has been doing on brain-to-vehicle technology at CES 2018 next week, where it will demonstrate its Intelligent Mobility vision for transforming how car are driven and their integration in society.

The idea behind the tech research is to help speed up driver reaction times and forge a way for cars to adapt to their drivers in order to make driving more enjoyable.

Nissan is claiming a breakthrough in research into brain decoding that through the use of head-mounted sensors can help a car’s systems detect a driver’s actions and any discomfort thy might be feeling and take actions autonomously.

For example. The system is claimed to be able to predict signs of when a driver is about to initiate a movement, such as turning the steering wheel or accelerating, and kick in driver assist systems in a faster fashion to enhance manual driving.

It is also being championed as a means to detect and evaluate how driver is feeling and change the driving configuration to make them more comfortable both during manual and autonomous driving.

Dr Lucian Gheorghe, senior innovation researcher at the Nissan Research Centre in Japan said the brain-to-vehicle tech could have other car applications such as adjusting the interior environment to suite the driver. Is could also use augmented reality to adjust what the driver sees and form a more relaxing driving environment; this would seem to stray dangerously close to Black Mirror territory.

“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.”

Nissan will showcase Intelligent Mobility through the use of a simulator at CES which would suggest that the tech is some way off from being road-ready. But it shows how much scope there is for innovation in car tech and interfaces especially when self-driving cars continue to be motor ahead in their development.

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