Since its formation in 2006, Freie Universität Berlin’s AutoNOMOS team has been researching and developing systems that could someday result in driverless, autonomous cars.
Previously, they have successfully used an iPhone, an iPad, and an eye-tracking device to maneuver their Volkswagen Passat MadeInGermany test car. Now, using a commercially-available Emotiv EPOC brain-machine gaming interface, they have demonstrated that the car can be controlled by mind power.
AutoNOMOS’ system, known as BrainDriver, acquires bioelectric signals from the driver via 16 EEG sensors on the EPOC neuroheadset. Before slipping behind the wheel, drivers first need to spend some time on the system’s software tool kit, where they learn to move a cube back and forth on a computer screen by altering their thought patterns. Once on the road, BrainDriver links these patterns with assigned actuations (such as steering and acceleration), and sends the appropriate commands to the car’s drive-by-wire system.