Nissan in collaboration with École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland (EPFL) are developing a brain computer interface for vehicles. The EPFL has already conducted research to help disabled people maneuver their wheelchairs with their with a BCI system and their thoughts. For them, the next logical step would be to bring this technology to drivers. Along with brain signals, the Nissan/EPFL team is using eye movement, environmental data from around the car, and car sensor data to help the system make decisions on the road. These experiments could provide handicapped individuals with the ability to control a vehicle and also help increase driver safety.
German scientists have been successful in using a drivers brain waves to assist in braking a car. The electrical signals indicating a will to brake were seen 130 milliseconds before the participant began braking. With data acquired through their research, brain signals that indicate an emergency braking response have been identified and this sensory technology could reduce accidents caused by human error.
Ferrari is also working on a similar project, but the sensor is located on the steering wheel and measures psychometric and biometric responses. These responses include, blood pressure, heart rate, eye blink rate, perspiration, temperature, and brain activity and could help prevent accidents in the future.
Source: Patel, Deeraj, and Vishal Soni. “Connecting to Future with Brain Machine
Interface.”TechTalk@KPITCummins 5.1 (2012): 10-18. Web. 6 May 2013.
Of course this use of BCI could be implemented in any human controlled vehicle or device. Plane, train, boat, and machine operational safety could all benefit from these sensors, but are there any downsides?
Questions to Ask Yourself Regarding BCI as Safety Enhancers
What are the potential benefits of these sensors? Are there negatives?
Who will have access to this increased safety?
How would this affect the automotive industry or any of the other industries mentioned above?
Links to Additional Information