Monday, March 28, 2011

Mind control puts you in charge of driverless cars

New Scientist has a post on the prospect of driverless cars using the power of the human mind:

In a step beyond the plans laid by DARPA and Google to create cars that drive themselves, engineers led by Raul Rojas at the Free University of Berlin in Germany have developed a largely autonomous car whose speed and direction can be the driver's thoughts. Why do this, you may well ask? Well, imagine your autonomous taxi of the future (think of the Johnny Cabs in Total Recall) is taking you home the wrong way. You just think "right here" and the car will turn and plan a fresh route. Or you change your mind about where you're going mid-journey: again, that's no problem with a thought-mediated drive-by-wire override capability.And people with disabilities that prevent them driving regular cars could experience driving by controlling at least some of the car's functions, too..

...Presumably to ensure everyone knows this is a German innovation in the face of the massive Google/DARPA juggernaut, the smart, semi-autonomous Volkswagen Passat has been christened 'MadeInGermany'. One begins to understand why engineers are not in charge of branding. Anyway, using laser radars, microwave radars and stereo cameras, the car can perform 360-degree obstacle detection and sense a car in front from its fenders up to 200 metres away. In all respects it's a state-of-the-art autonomous car - fully capable of driving itself or interfacing with other interesting control systems like the iPad or iPhone.

Read more at - 'Mind control puts you in charge of driverless cars'


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