The future’s already pretty weird if you ask me, but it’s soon going to get a whole lot weirder. Many technology research firms are researching ways to connect the human brain directly to computer systems, enabling all manners of new hands-free operation we can’t even dream about yet and taking us one step closer to fulfilling the move into dystopian virtual realities seen in science fiction like The Matrix. In the meantime, though, these brain-to-computer interfaces will open up many interesting doors to greater control over our man-made environment. In an announcement that has rocked the car world, Japanese automaker Nissan has unveiled what it’s calling a “B2V” or brain-to-vehicle interface designed to give drivers extended, near-automatic control of their vehicles. What could go wrong?
Nissan will demonstrate the system during the 2018 CES technology trade show in Las Vegas. While brain-to-vehicle control sounds like you’ll be able to lay back and steer your car with your mind, so far Nissan has only suggested that their system will augment normal driving. Vehicles could read driver’s brainwaves to detect changes in the road ahead, for example, and help with braking or steering. Or, if the car senses that a driver is becoming too warm or cold, the system could automatically adjust climate control so that the driver need not take her hands away from the steering wheel.
In a press release, Nissan Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci says the system will expand the definitions of autonomous driving to more than simply turning control of the steering wheel over to a robot:
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.
When I see big tech companies unveil these brain-to-computer or brain-to-vehicle interfaces I have to chuckle a bit. I mean, aren’t we already using our brains to control our cars? What do you think controls your hands and feet, a tiny man living inside your head pulling levers? Sure, Nissan’s B2V sounds neat, but who is going to actually apply cortical electrodes to their head every time they get in the car? Not to mention the privacy concerns associated with letting a car read your mind. Nice try, Nissan. I’ll leave it up to Google to read my thoughts.