The Chinese researchers say that this is the country’s first car which uses nothing but brain power to drive. The research team from Nankai University located in the north-eastern Chinese port city of Tianjin has spent two years in bringing the brain-powered car into reality.
By wearing a brain signal-reading equipment, a driver can control the car to come to a stop, go forward or backward and both unlock and lock the vehicle without moving their hands or feet.
What did Zhang Zhao say?
Zhang Zhao, who is the researcher, told Reuters that the equipment consists of 16 sensors that capture electroencephalogram(EEG) signals from the driver’s brain. They developed a computer program which selects the relevant signals and translates them which helps in enabling the control of the car.
Zhang said that the tester’s EEG signals are picked up through this equipment and is transmitted wirelessly to the computer. The computer then processes the signals to recognize and categorize people’s intensions which translates them into control command to the car. The core of the whole flow is to process the EEG signals which is done on the computer.
Associate Professor Duan Feng, who is from the university’s College of Computer and Control Engineering department, is leading the project. He highlighted that technology aims at serving human beings in a better manner and that it might be soon possible to combine driverless cars and brain controlled technology such as the Google SDC (Self driving car)
Details on the brain powered car
Duan said that brain powered car’s further development could bring more benefit to us, since they can realize better about the functions relating to brain controlling with the help of driverless cars platform. In the end, cars, whether driverless or not; are serving for people. Under these circumstances people’s intensions must be recognized. In their project, it makes the cars serve human beings in a better way.
Duan further also talked about the potential road accidents, which are caused by the driver being distracted. He said that concentration was required only at the time of changing the vehicle’s moving status. Whether such an application would be enough to convince drivers to get behind the wheel and control the car with their mind is far from certain.
Zhang further added that there are two starting points of this project. The first one is to provide a driving method without using feet or hands for the disabled who are unable to move freely. The second one is to provide healthy people with a more intellectualized driving mode.
The researchers said that their idea was inspired from disabled people who are physically unable to drive cars.
At present, the vehicle in collaboration with Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall Motor can only drive in a straight direction and there are no plans to put it into production.