Autonomous Car

This Brain-Powered Car Makes Autonomous Tech Look Like A Toy

Can you guess what country thought of this?

First came radar-guided cruise control, then automakers created autopilot systems and now autonomous cars are driving on down our streets. All of this has been done to take drivers out of the equation, which is supposed to make things safer and more enjoyable. As if it couldn’t get any worse, Chinese researchers have created the first mind-controlled vehicle that uses nothing but brain power to drive. Yup, brain power is what could be coming up in the future. The project took two years to complete and is finally something that can be used.

Reasearcher Zhang Zhao told Retuers that the equipment to make the vehicle run on brain power is made up of 16 different sensors that pick up EEG (electroencephalogram) signals from the driver’s brain. The researchers developed a computer program that selects the relevant signals and translates them, enabling control of the car. “The tester’s EEG signals are picked up by this (brain signal-reading) equipment and transmitted wirelessly to the computer,” stated Zhao. “The computer processes the signals to categorize and recognize people’s intention, then 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.”

A brain-powered car would be utilized to increase road safety and could possibly be used in conjunction with autonomous vehicles. While brain-powered cars sound like an enthusiast’s worst nightmare, they would help individuals that are unable to drive due to disabilities get the freedom that only driving can bring. The researchers partnered with Great Wall Motor—a Chinese automaker—to manufacture the vehicle. The brain-powered car can only go in a straight line and there aren't any plans to put it into production. Is a brain-powered vehicle the future of the automotive industry? Photos by Kim Kyung-Hoon for Reuters.

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