This Futuristic Mercedes Concept Can Read Your Mind

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Mercedes is showcasing its clever in-car mind-control technology at Munich.

Mercedes is dominating the 2021 Munich Motor Show. Previewing its all-electric future, the German automaker presented production versions of the EQE luxury sedan, AMG EQS performance sedan, and EQB crossover, as well as the EQG off-road concept to showcase what a fully electric version of the G-Class will look like. Also making an appearance at the show is the Mercedes Vision AVTR (Advanced Vehicle Transformation). Inspired by James Cameron's sci-fi epic Avatar, the futuristic concept debuted at CES last year.

Mercedes envisioned the concept as a "living organism" that creates a connection with the driver by recognizing their breathing and heartbeat. Taking this concept a stage further, Mercedes has integrated brain-computer interfaces (BCI) into the Vision AVTR, allowing occupants to control the car with their minds.

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BCI is still a long way from becoming an everyday part of life, but Mercedes emphasizes the mind control technology is "no longer science fiction." For example, it's already used in medical research to help disabled people become more independent. In the auto industry, Mercedes imagines a future where car functions such as selecting a destination on the navigation, changing a radio station and switching ambient lighting on or off can be controlled using your mind instead of using touchscreens or gesture controls. This technology will be demonstrated at the Munich Motor Show in a mockup of the Vision AVTR. A BCI device is attached to the back of the user's head and records brain activity after a one-minute calibration. For the demonstration, light dots are projected onto a fully digital dashboard as visual stimuli for the brain.

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By analyzing brain waves, it can recognize which light points the user is focusing on and activate the target function in digital worlds displayed on the dashboard such as generating wind, growing plants, selecting parking spaces, or turn from day into night.

"Mercedes-Benz is setting another milestone in the merging of man and machine with the research and development of brain-computer interface applications in cars. BCI technology has the potential to further enhance driving comfort in the future, for example," said Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, responsible for Sales. "Mercedes-Benz has always pioneered intelligent, innovative solutions to provide our customers with the best product and service experience. BCI technology works completely independently of speech and touch. This opens up revolutionary possibilities for intuitive interaction with the vehicle."

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