Chinese Researchers Working Towards Cars Driven by Your Brain
At the moment, cars that can be driven without any control are not new to us and we have been hearing about a lot of Silicon Valley tech giants working towards developing them. Google, Tesla, Stanford grads, and of course German automobile manufacturers have all tried their hands on such vehicles, and let’s be honest, we still don’t have one that can drive fully hands free.
Of course, human intervention is required even in mild traffic and during unnatural events, but we have too many expectations thanks to Sci-fi movies.
Thinking about how much effort is going into manufacturing technology to completely automate driving, Chinese researchers at Tianjin have come up with an idea of driving cars controlled by the human brain to some extent.
Yes you heard it right!
The car can be controlled by your brain activity for small but important purposes. It goes without saying that these things are still being tested, but think about driving cars without using your limbs, just your brain and controlling everything through it. In collaboration with Chinese car manufacturer the Great Wall Motor, at present the car can only be driven on a straight path.
We have seen quite a few startups developing services which can be controlled by the brain, including music devices, Virtual games and head gears, but none of them have been very commercially profitable or famous.
In 2011, we also saw the launch of BrainDriver, a mind controlled car which did not see the light of the day eventually. However, it was a very fresh thought then and continued to irk the scientists as well. Check out this video from Brain Driver that shows you a glimpse of how this works.
How does the car operate?
Duan Feng, Nankai University associate professor, is leading the project. The who process involves complex scientific controls and electrical engineering in place to monitor the user’s brain memory.
Sensors in the machines can read electroencephalogram or EEG from the driver’s brain and convert the brain impulse into mechanical energy. The signals are directed to the controls of the car instantly.
It is the whole reading of the brain signals and conversion of signals into mechanical activity that needs to be innovated. The lag has to be reduced so that the driver’s thoughts are instantly converted into actions, or else an accident is impending. The brain must also only convert the relevant thoughts into activity and ignore the other random ideas and thoughts.
As told by Duan Feng, the main motive of brain would be only to change lanes, stop the car, lock and unlock the vehicle while the driving will still be done by the car itself. It is like Google’s self driving car with additional benefits to completely put you at rest. He also mentioned that the concept came into picture because of inability of the disabled to maneuver a car.
The project looks promising and it could be a breakthrough if it is commercially viable for us, however we are not accounting for the fact that drivers may get distracted or might need to address some other issues at the same time.
Let’s consider that a car like this is finally launched in India in 2025, do you think it will be successful here? With zigzag driving and lane jumping, launching such vehicles would only mean more accidents. To top it all, inebriated drivers may cause havoc on the streets. However, wishful thinking is all we need for the time being and it can be a boon for everyone.