Nissan Gets Creative Testing A Mind-Reading Electric Car
Participants in Japan put on brain scanners to go on a hands-free test drive
In a thought-provoking feat, Nissan introduced a driving experiment The Electric CARtoon: Driving School at Night wherein new drivers take the Nissan Leaf on a driving test in which a brain scanner captures the driver’s brain waves as they navigate the electric car. While Nissan allowed the drivers to keep their hands on the wheel, the point was to let the brain direct the machine.
The project, which commemorates the 5th anniversary of Nissan’s 100 percent electric model, does a good job of pointing toward a future where cars better understand what the driver is thinking and feeling.
To take it up a notch, the driver’s feedback is projected visually besides the car. Using a headset to scan brain waves, the special-edition electric car displays a selection of some 30 comic strip phrases to reflect the driver’s thoughts in comical word bubbles.
The participants’ brain waves are matched up to pre-defined graphics that reflect the emotional roller coaster participants are undergoing on this exceptional driving test.
Looking at the project in the video, one also recognizes a manifestation of technology collapsing the boundary between hidden brain activity and the contextual physical reality. As more car brands push to embrace forms and flavors of autonomous driving, automotive manufacturers will grow more dependent on deep-machine learning to help stabilize the relationship between driver and what they’re driving. After all, no one wants their car to be reading their mind while they’re stressed or distracted.