Researchers from the Nankai University of Tianjin, a city in the North East of China, have successfully developed what they call “the first car that uses nothing but brain power to drive,” Reuters reports.
By sending EEG (electroencephalogram) signals from his mind, and with the help of a software that translates them into relevant commands, a driver is be able to control the car to go forward, backwards, come to a stop, and both lock and unlock the vehicle, researcher Zhang Zhao said.
While the concept is certainly fascinating, it is unclear what the benefits of such a technology could be. Not only because of the current limitations: for the time being, the vehicle can only drive in a straight direction, and there are no plans to put it into production any time soon.
But also because using your mind to control a car might not be the most effective solution, after all. In fact, the system was designed considering two main possible applications: to help disabled people who are unable to use their hands or feet to drive, and secondly, “to provide healthy people with a new and more intellectualized driving mode,” as Zhang maintained.
However, as autonomous vehicles become less and less science-fiction and closer to reality, it’s not easy to tell why brain-controlled cars should be more appealing than, say, a self-driving car with vocal commands or programmed in advance to follow a certain route.