September 06, 2021 - A new dimension of future human-vehicle interaction: Mercedes-Benz gives an outlook on possible applications of brain-computer interface technology in the car at the IAA MOBILITY
Selecting the navigation destination by thought control, switching the ambient light in the interior 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 are no longer science fiction either. In medical research, for example, BCI applications are considered a viable option for helping people with physical handicaps to become more independent. Mercedes-Benz is now integrating the first BCI approaches into its pioneering VISION AVTR concept vehicle.
With the continuous further development of our ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant and the zero-layer concept of the MBUX Hyperscreen, we’ve already simplified vehicle operation radically. BCI technology can make it possible to relieve the user even more, in order to be able to focus on the driving experience. The VISION AVTR underlines the courage and pioneering spirit of our brand and is exactly the right concept to test and further develop BCI applications. This concept vehicle impressively depicts the future of mobility in which man, nature and technology are in harmony with each other.
A live experience at the IAA: controlling 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 to the human brain. At the IAA, the first approaches to mind control based on visual perception will be demonstrated in the visionary seat mockup of the VISION AVTR. For this purpose, light dots are projected onto the fully digital dashboard. A BCI device with wearable 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 the visual stimuli on the dashboard. The BCI device measures the neuronal activity at the cortex in real time. It analyses the measured brain waves and recognises on which light points the user directs his focus and full attention (attention-sensing interface). The stronger the focus, the higher the neuronal activity. The device then triggers the targeted function in the vehicle.
VISION AVTR – inspired by AVATAR
The Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR was presented for the first time at the 2020 CES (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 valuable brand in the world, Mercedes-Benz (according to Interbrand Ranking 2020). The name of the ground-breaking concept vehicle stands for ADVANCED VEHICLE TRANSFORMATION and embodies the vision of Mercedes-Benz designers, engineers and trend researchers for mobility in the distant future. The biometric connection enables a completely new interaction between man, machine and nature in the autonomous-driving concept vehicle.