Selecting the navigation destination by mind control, switching the ambient light inside or changing the radio station: Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) enable this new form of machine control. They will not be available in everyday life tomorrow. But they’re not science fiction either. In medical research, for example, BCI apps are seen as a viable option to help people with physical disabilities become more independent. Mercedes-Benz is now incorporating the first BCI approaches into its pioneering concept vehicle VISION AVTR. After a short calibration process, a BCI device attached to the user’s head analyzes the measured brain waves and triggers a defined function.
âMercedes-Benz sets a new milestone in the fusion of man and machine with the research and development of brain-computer interface applications in cars. BCI technology has the potential to further improve driving comfort in the future, for example, âsaid Britta Seeger, member of the board of directors of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, responsible for sales. âMercedes-Benz has always been the pioneer of smart and innovative solutions to provide our customers with the best product and service experience. BCI technology works completely independent of speech and touch. This opens up revolutionary possibilities for intuitive interaction with the vehicle.
“With the continued development of our ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant and the layer zero concept of the MBUX hyper-display, we have already radically simplified the operation of the vehicle,” said Markus SchÃ¤fer, member of the board of directors of Daimler AG and Mercedes -Benz AG; responsible for Daimler Group Research and COO of Mercedes-Benz Cars. âBCI technology can help relieve the user even more, so that they can focus on the driving experience. The VISION AVTR underlines the courage and pioneering spirit of our brand and is exactly the right concept for testing and further developing BCI applications. This concept vehicle impressively portrays the future of mobility in which man, nature and technology are in harmony with each other.
Control the user interface in the vehicle through brain activity
With the integration of Brain-Computer-Interface technology, Mercedes-Benz continues the revolutionary story of the VISION AVTR. The biometric interaction with the vehicle is complemented by a direct connection with the human brain. At the IAA, the first approaches to mind control based on visual perception were demonstrated in the visionary mockup of the VISION AVTR headquarters. Light points are projected onto the fully digital instrument panel for this purpose. A BCI device with portable electrodes attached to the back of the user’s head records brain activity and establishes a direct connection to the vehicle after a one-minute calibration. The brain reacts to visual stimuli on the dashboard. The BCI device measures neuronal activity in the cortex in real time. It analyzes the measured brain waves and recognizes on which light points the user directs his attention and all his attention (attention detection interface). The higher the concentration, the higher the neuronal activity. The device then triggers the targeted function in the vehicle.
Thanks to several functions linked to BCI technology, visitors to the show can experience this unique form of interaction with the vehicle live. They will experience how quickly their own brains connect to the vehicle – similar to the neural connection between the Na’vi and nature in the visionary Hollywood blockbuster “AVATAR”. By focusing on light spots, they can use the power of their thoughts to perform various functions in the VISION AVTR digital worlds displayed on the dashboard: for example, generating wind, growing plants, selecting parking spots. to recharge or transform day into night.
VISION AVTR – inspired by AVATAR
The Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR was first presented at CES 2020 (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. It is the result of an extraordinary global collaboration between one of the most innovative brands in the entertainment industry, Disney, and the eighth most valued brand in the world, Mercedes-Benz (according to the Interbrand 2020 ranking). The name of the revolutionary concept vehicle stands for ADVANCED VEHICLE TRANSFORMATION and embodies the vision of Mercedes-Benz designers, engineers and trend-seekers for mobility in the distant future. The biometric connection enables a whole new interaction between man, machine and nature in the self-driving concept vehicle.
The stretched ‘one-arch’ design and organic design language combine exterior and interior into an emotional whole. Sustainable materials such as DINAMICAÂ® vegan leather made from recycled materials, fast growing KaruunÂ® (rattan) which can only thrive in biodiversity and organic and compostable battery technology create a closed loop economy. 33 bionic flaps at the rear of the vehicle can communicate with the outside world – with and through the driver – using naturally fluid movements in subtle gestures. Instead of a conventional steering wheel, the VISION AVTR has a multifunctional control element in the center console. By placing your hand on the control, the passenger compartment comes alive and the vehicle recognizes the passenger by their heart rate. The simple act of raising your hand projects a menu selection onto the palm of the hand, allowing the user to intuitively choose between different features.