Nissan’s ‘Brain-to-Vehicle’ interface will let cars of the future predict driver actions

Image credit: Nissan

Automaker Nissan has created an interface that allows vehicles to interpret driver’s brain signals in order to speed up reaction times and change how people interact with their cars.

The company’s ‘Brain-to-Vehicle’ (B2V) technology is the result of research into using brain decoding interfaces to predict a driver’s actions and detect discomfort.

“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,” said Daniele Schillaci, Nissan executive vice president. Nissan started trialling its driverless technology in London last year. 

“Through Nissan Intelligent Mobility, we are moving people to a better world by delivering more autonomy, more electrification and more connectivity.”

The system allows cars to predict a driver’s behaviour by catching signs that their brain is about to initiate a movement – such as turning the steering wheel or pushing the accelerator pedal.

Driver-assist technologies then kick in that allow the action to be taken more quickly. This can improve reaction times and enhance manual driving.

B2V can also detect and evaluate driver discomfort; artificial intelligence can change the driving configuration or driving style when in autonomous mode.

Other possible uses include adjusting the vehicle’s internal environment, said Dr Lucian Gheorghe, senior innovation researcher at the Nissan Research Center in Japan, who’s leading the B2V research.

For example, the technology can use augmented reality to adjust what the driver sees and create a more relaxing environment.

“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 boasts that its B2V technology is the world’s first system of its kind. The driver wears a device that measures brain wave activity, which is then analysed by autonomous systems.

By anticipating intended movement, the systems can take actions - such as turning the steering wheel or slowing the car - 0.2 to 0.5 seconds faster than the driver, while remaining largely imperceptible.

Nissan will use a driving simulator to demonstrate some elements of the technology at CES 2018.

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