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Japanese car giant Nissan has recently unveiled research which may revolutionise the way people interact with their cars – by directly interpreting signals from the driver’s brain.

Their Brain-to-Vehicle (B2V) technology is set to speed up reaction times for drivers as well as lead to cars that will adapt to the drivers’ needs to make it more enjoyable.

Nissan will be demonstrating the possibilities of the technology at the CES Trade Show in Las Vegas, and B2V is the latest creation from Nissan Intelligent Mobility – the company’s vision for the future of driving, powering, and integration vehicles into society.

Nissan Executive VP Daniele Schillaci said: “When most people think about autonomous driving, they have a very impersonal vision of the future, where humans relinquish control to the machines. yet B2V technology does the opposite, by using signals from their own brain to make the drive even more exciting and enjoyable,

“Through Nissan Intelligent Mobility, we are moving people to a better world by delivering more autonomy, more electrification, and more connectivity.”

This has all been made possible following research into using brain decoding technology to predict drivers’ actions and detect discomfort.

In terms of prediction, the technology detects that the driver is about to initiate a movement such as applying the brake pedal or turning the steering wheel. It then initiates the action more quickly, enhancing reaction times and the manual driving experience.

In examining a driver’s comfort level, artificial intelligence can change the driving configuration when in manual, or the driving style when in autonomous mode.

Dr Lucian Gheorghe, senior innovation researcher at the Nissan Research Centre in Japan and B2V research leader, says that other uses might be to adjust the vehicle’s internal environment – perhaps using augmented reality to adjust what the driver sees and create a more relaxing environment.

“The potential applications of the technology are incredible,” said Gheorghe. “This research will be a catalyst for more Nissan innovation inside our vehicles in the years to come.”

The B2V system from Nissan is the first such system the world has seen. The driver wears a device that monitors brainwave activity which in turn is analysed by various autonomous systems. In anticipating movements, those systems can start those movements as much as 0.2-0.5 seconds faster than the driver, but while remaining largely unnoticeable.

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