Artificial intelligence has come to such a point that cars are being controlled by computers, rather than humans. However, mind-controlled technology seems like stretching the limit. However, things are changing. Researchers in China have developed the world’s first mind-controlled car that is controlled using a human brain.
At Nankai University, located in the north-east port city of Tianjin, a team of Chinese researchers have dedicated two years in order to build this type of technology. The project is headed by Duan Feng, associate professor, Nankai College of Computer and Control Engineering.
A user has to wear a headset, called a brain signal-reader, that analyzes brain signals to move the car. A computer, then, processes this information to control the movement of the car. The headset comprises of 16 sensors which capture EEG (electroencephalogram) signals from the brain.
Our brain practically runs on electrical signals which are active at all times, even when we are asleep. EEG detects this electrical impulse activity in the brain. A computer program is developed by the researchers in order to translate the signals to physical movement of the car.
The car can move forward, backwards, stop, lock and unlock, solely using the power of the brain. At the moment, steering is not implemented due to limitations. The car is only able to drive in one direction – straight. However, the researchers don’t believe this is a disadvantage. On the contrary, they believe that it might be useful for self-driving car technology being developed today, such as Google’s Self Driving Car.
What happens if we stop thinking about the car while in motion, you ask? Duan says that it won’t be a problem because the driver only needs to concentrate when changing the car’s functions, such as stopping and moving.
This project was executed in partnership with Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall Motor. No further plans exist to mass produce this technology.
“Driverless cars’ further development can bring more benefits to us since we can better realize functions relating to brain controlling with the help of the driverless cars’ platform,” said Duan. “In the end, cars, whether driverless or not, and machines are serving for people. Under such circumstances, people’s intentions must be recognized. In our project, it makes the cars better serve human beings.”
Around 33,000 people die as a result of car crashes, with 94% of car crashes occurring due to human error. Around 120 million people spend an average of 50 minutes while on commute each day.