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Scientists develop real life KITT carBack

Ever watched Knight Rider? Nissan is working with scientists in Switzerland to design a car different to any other on the road, which could make the concept of the 1980’s KITT car into a reality.

The new car is being developed by scientists at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and it will be designed to read a driver’s mind and be able to predict their next move on the road.

The purpose of the project is to produce a car which will be able to balance the necessities of road safety with the demands for personal transport.

The Scientists at EPFL have already created a BMI system whereby wheelchair users can operate their chairs through thought transference, and they are now focused on transferring this technology to the interaction between motorists and their cars.

The new car is being designed to be able to predict a left or right turn and prepare itself for it, choosing the correct speed and positioning automatically, all through the thoughts of their drivers who will be thinking about making such a turn.

The downside to the new BMI technology is that a huge amount of human concentration is required in order for the system to work successfully. As a consequence, the research team are trying to work on alternative systems that use statistical analysis to predict a driver’s next move which will be able to “evaluate a driver’s cognitive state relevant to the driving environment”.

Some of the experiments currently being conducted include measuring driver’s brain activity, monitoring patterns of eye movement and scanning the environment surrounding the car – all of which are designed to predict what a driver is planning to do and help them complete this manoeuvre safely.

Lucian Gheorghe, a scientist at Nissan’s mobility research centre said:”Brain wave analysis has helped me understand driver burden in order to reduce driver stress. During our collaboration with EPFL, I believe we will not only be able to contribute to the scientific community but we will also find engineering solutions that will bring us close to providing easy access to personal mobility for everyone.”

Would you a buy a car which contained the new BMI technology? Could you ever fully trust a car to develop its own mind and be capable of taking you safely from A to B entirely on its own? Let us know what you think.


Posted by Leana Kell on 30/09/2011