Tag Archives: control

German researchers drive car with their minds

Link to article on Jalopnik

Researchers in Germany have started working on a system that allows a driver to mind-control their car. The driver wears a headset that measures certain brainwaves via electromagnetic pulses. The system responds only to commands of accelerate, brake, turn left, and turn right. It appears from the video that the system is controlling the car’s computer and that is how it is able to apply the gas and brake and manipulate the steering wheel (since new cars have electronic brake/gas pedals and steering wheel).

The system seems cool in an Utopian world where everyone is on their best behavior and follows the rules, but in the real world the system would not fly. Think about all the idiots you see on the road distracted by their cell phones, energy drink, and breakfast tacos. Do you really think they have the brain capacity to operate their vehicle by thinking let alone unconsciously driving as they are now? While it is inherently safe in the fact that your car isn’t going to go psycho on you while you’re listening to Iron Maiden and raging at other drivers as the system requires you to think in terms of go, stop, and turn. We do all of that naturally without thinking about “I need to move the steering wheel 15 degrees to the left and apply brake 10% so I must move my arm X inches and move my leg Y inches, but not too fast because I don’t want to flip the vehicle”. That would be way too much work for the average person driving to work or soccer practice.

While this is a cool experiment, it should only stay as a cool experiment. People don’t think like computers and it’ll be a long way before a computer thinks like a human despite what you see in the media.