It was last year that Mercedes unveiled the spooky Mercedes AVTR prototype. It is a futuristic car with innovative features such as spherical wheels or the absence of a steering wheel in favor of a joystick. Now Mercedes goes one step further and introduces an interface to control the car with your mind.
During the IAA Mobility in Munich this week, Mercedes has again shown its AVTR concept. This vehicle is not intended to go on the market, but rather to show the possibilities that technology has in the future. This time they have turned (saving the distances) the car into an extension of the mind.
No buttons or touchscreens, brain
According to Mercedes, they seek to mark “another milestone in the fusion of man and machine” and for this they have developed a brain-computer interface solution for automobiles. With this they want to explore new, more intuitive interactions with the vehicle.
But what exactly have they done? At the moment it is an interface for control the vehicle’s infotainment console with your mind. This, futuristic as it may seem, actually uses technologies that have been around for a long time. Different bands with sensors allow relatively easy reading of brain activity. By concentrating the user on a specific symbol on the interface, a band over his head can read that intention and activate the specific button.
The idea behind this is that the user can better concentrate on driving and is not distracted trying to change a song manually for example. Something for which currently the user still has to put a large part of their effort and concentration on the quality of the activity and hence we see it in a prototype that is not running and not in a real vehicle on the streets. Perhaps in the future this will change and the technology will improve enough to really “read minds”.
In recent years, the automotive industry has been increasingly further reduce dependency on the driver and offer more range. More autonomy means focusing less on the vehicle and being able to carry out other activities during the trip. One of the paths chosen by Mercedes for this seems to go through placing brain bands on her head and staring at the screen to activate buttons.
Whether this idea is going to come true or not is something we will see in the coming years. Meanwhile the truth is that the Mercedes AVTR is introducing the most interesting ideas as we have seen in video working. The spherical wheels allow more versatile movements and the tactile joystick to control the vehicle is of course amazing.
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