Nissan activating Neurons for Autonomy B2V

I can’t wait for automated driving cars, with not having to drive myself in congested cities. I like the idea that automated cars can sense through lidars and technology what will happen before it happens, saving lives, and gasoline.

I’m a little stymied by the thought of someone putting a cap on my head and reading my brain to research how I think and how the car of the future should drive. What if I have an errant thought of some type, something I wouldn’t want the world to know? There is an appeal to the science and skepticism from the human.

Just like the world, the brain has a GPS system. Professor John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser won the Nobel peace prize for discovering the brain’s “GPS system.” The professors discovered how the brain knows where we are and how the brain can navigate from one place to another. Where the activity occurs is important in the mapping process.

Nissan’s research into the brain to vehicle technology is looking for particular patterns of brain activities. For instance, the midbrain, the smallest part of the human brain is involved in functions such as vision, hearing, eye movement, and body movement. Different parts of your brain are activated when you use the neurons in various parts of your mind. The brain activity doesn’t say why you don’t want to go left, but brain activity shows you are wary of going left – possibly because of something you see – and the autonomous vehicle will not go left.

Nissan is working to decode brain activity from the driver’s brain, to define how people interact with their autonomous cars. The real world brain interaction will allow Nissan to see which parts of driving are enjoyable and which are not pleasant.

“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 brain to make the drive even more exciting and enjoyable,” said Nissan Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci. “Through Nissan Intelligent Mobility, we are moving people to a better world by delivering more autonomy, more electrification, and more connectivity.”

Nissan is the first car company to say they are working on B2V research and development. B2V is the latest development in the Nissan Intelligent Mobility program. Marija Uscumlic, Research Scientist at Nissan – ‎Nissan Research Center & Center for Neuroprosthetics EPFL Biotech Campus Geneva, explains that technology reads a driver’s brain waves then communicates certain aspects of those to the electric vehicle. “B2V interprets signals from the driver’s brain to assist with driving and to help the vehicle’s autonomous and manual systems learn from the driver.”

Nissan expects to see this mapping of the brain-to-vehicle technology in cars in five to ten years. The Nobel peace prize may take a little longer.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.

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