BCIs for the Dedicated Driver

Corinna Underwood

Corinna Underwood has been a published author for more than a decade. Her non-fiction has been published in many outlets including Fox News, CrimeDesk24, Life Extension, Chronogram, After Dark and Alive.

Trends in Brain-Machine Interface: An Interview with Mikhail Lebedev 1

Attention Powered Car

If you have to make long commutes on a regular basis, you know how easy it is to get distracted while on the road, so you may be interested in a new device by Emotiv, designed to avert driver distraction. And what’s unique about this solution is that it interacts directly with your brain.

Emotiv is known for its manufacture of a range of electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring headgear for a wide range of purposes, including biofeedback, neuropathy and brain-computer interface (BCI). The team has now collaborated with the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia to create the Attention Powered Car.

This unique vehicle features Emotiv’s EPOC neuroheadset, which analyses electrical activity in the brain to measure your concentration level as you drive. It does so by gauging your eye movement, blink rate and head tilts. The headset is integrated with the car’s engine and operating system via custom software. Should a lapse in your attention occur, the Hyundai i40 will reduce speed to 9 miles per hour, to alert you that your attention is waning from the task at hand. The car will only return to full speed when it detects that you have your full attention on the road.

At the moment, the car is only a prototype, but researchers are testing it on a track to find out how different activities, such as sending a text, speaking on the phone or changing the radio station can affect driver attention.

BCI Drowsiness Detector

According to UCLA Sleep Center, fatigue is another common problem for long-distance drivers. Driving while drowsy is known to be the cause of many accidents, therefore monitoring it could be an effective means of increasing your safety while driving.

In an attempt to address this issue, Chin-Teng Lin and his team at the Brain Research Center, National Chiao Tung University in Hsinchu, Taiwan, have proposed a real-time wireless brain-computer interface system for drowsiness detection.

The EEG-based BCI system was developed to monitor the driver’s cognitive state and provide feedback when drowsiness occurs. EEG is one of the most reliable methods for detecting sleep onset, but one of the main problems with developing this kind of system is that many current BCI systems are bulky and are required to transmit the EEG signal to a back-end personal PC to be processed.

Chin-Teng Lin’s system circumvents these issues because it is comprised of a wireless module that picks up physiological signals and transmits them to an embedded processing module. The system is specifically designed for long-term EEG monitoring to enable continuous, real-time drowsiness detection, making it a perfect application for increasing driver safety.

Nismo the Neuro Car

If you are particularly bad at remembering when your vehicle needs to be serviced, or when you need to change your tires or oil, you may want to consider Nissan’s Nismo smart watch because it will remind you. However, the device is not just designed to monitor your car, it will also be keeping check on your vital signs, including brain activity, heart rate, skin temperature and adrenaline production.

Nismo is in constant communication with the vehicle and analysis of vital signs such as slowing heart rate, lowering skin temperature and slower brain activity, enabling the device to detect when you are getting drowsy. When this happens, the device will wake you up and let you know that it’s time to get off the road.

Developers at Nissan are working to enhance the device so that, in the future, it will be able to monitor the condition of your brain and heart; and should abnormal activity or brain damage, or heart attack occur, Nismo will be able to alert paramedics.

In-car Brainwave Scanning Security

Your brain produces a unique pattern of alpha-beta brain waves, giving you your own personal neural fingerprint. Imagine if that pattern could be recorded and used for a personal identification system to prevent someone from stealing your car? This idea may soon become a practical application thanks to engineer Isao Nakanishi and his team at the Graduate School of Engineering at Japan’s Tottori University.

The researchers have developed a vehicle security system that uses brain wave biometrics. The in-built system would scan you using an EEG to record your alpha-beta brain wave patterns. These would be stored in your vehicle’s security system. If someone else tried to get into your car, their brain waves would also be scanned. If they fail to match, the engine won’t start. This idea could also be applied to commercial airplanes to prevent hijacking.

Stay Ahead of the AI Curve

Discover the critical AI trends and applications that separate winners from losers in the future of business.

Sign up for the 'AI Advantage' newsletter: