While Google and a string of car companies are spending time developing self-driving vehicles – scientists in China have gone in a completely different direction with a car controlled by brain-power.
Researchers as Nankai University in the city of Tianjin have spent the past two years building the technology to make the system work smoothly, Reuters reports.
The car is controlled by a person wearing special equipment on their heads which reads brain signals. It allows them to unlock and lock the vehicle, drive the car forwards and backwards, and bring it to a halt.
All with the power of thought.
The electronic head-gear carries 16 different sensors which pick up EEG (electroencephalogram) signals produced by the brain. A computer then interprets those signals and converts them into data that can control the car.
Researcher Zhang Zhao said: “The tester’s EEG signals are picked up by this (brain signal-reading) equipment and transmitted wirelessly to the computer. The computer processes the signals to categorize and recognize people’s intention, then translates them into control command to the car.”
Similar technology was developed and tested by scientists at Berlin’s Free University four years ago.
The Chinese project was led by Professor Duan Feng, from Nankai University’s College of Computer and Control Engineering. The team said one of the main reasons for developing the technology was to help disabled people who are not able to use their limbs to drive cars.
Unlike the Free University of Berlin project, the Chinese vehicle can so far only drive in a straight line.