In order to have a fully autonomous vehicle out on public roads, the self-driving car must have gone through a thorough deep machine-learning process to be prepared to deal with anything and everything it might encounter while traveling.
One alternative to that process, while still allowing the humans to keep their hands off the wheel, is for drivers to control the vehicle's route with the power of their brains alone. In fact, this past December, Chinese researchers showed Reuters its mind-controlled car, which works with brain sensors, reading brainwaves to guide the vehicle's route. Pretty incredible.
Seemingly taking a page out of that book, Nissan recently put several drivers behind the wheel of its specially-customized Leaf electric vehicle, equipping them with headsets to measure their brainwaves. The drivers had never driven an electric vehicle prior to this experiment. However, unlike the aforementioned Chinese researchers, these drivers still had to drive the car.
The fun of this experiment came with Nissan using the brainwave headset technology to decipher the drivers' thoughts, translating them in real-time via messages popping up just outside of the vehicle.
Check out the experiment here.
Nissan says it developed the special version of the all-electric Leaf and strapped users with the brainwave technology to allow people to see "what the driver is thinking and feeling, using brainwaves that are immediately converted and projected into words and visuals on the road."
The automaker conducted the experiment to help celebrate the fifth anniversary of the 100 percent electric Leaf.
Nissan might want to keep pushing forward with this technology, too. Researchers from Nankai University in China were able to move an SUV forward, backward and make it come to a full stop using only the driver's thoughts, which were transmitted via a brain-signal headset.
Nankai University associate professor Duan Feng even said at the time that the technology can aid a company developing an autonomous vehicle.
"Driverless cars' further development can bring more benefits to us, since we can better realize functions relating to brain controlling with the help of the driverless cars' platform," Feng told Reuters in December. "In the end, cars, whether driverless or not, machines are serving for people. Under such circumstances, people's intentions must be recognized. In our project, it makes the cars better serve human beings."