Brain-powered car developed by Chinese researchers

Chinese researchers have developed first brain-powered car in the north-eastern Chinese port city of Tianjin. Researchers say that the car uses nothing but brain power to drive. The research team from Nankai University has spent two years bringing the brain-powered car to reality.

A driver can control the car to go forward, come to a stop, backwards and both lock and unlock the vehicle, all without moving their hands or feet, by just wearing brain signal-reading equipment.   

In fact, the equipment is equipped with 16 sensors that capture EEG (electroencephalogram) signals from the driver’s brain then, computer program selects the relevant signals and translates them, enabling control of the car.

Researcher Zhang Zhao, PHD student in the College of Computer and Control Engineering said, "The tester’s EEG signals are picked up by this (brain signal-reading) equipment and transmitted wirelessly to the computer. The computer processes the signals to categorize and recognize people’s intention, then translates them into control command to the car. The core of the whole flow is to process the EEG signals, which is done on the computer".

Zhang further added, "There are two starting points of this project. The first one is to provide a driving method without using hands or feet for the disabled who are unable to move freely; and secondly, to provide healthy people with a new and more intellectualized driving mode".

At the same time, Associate Professor Duan Feng, who led the project, from the university’s College of Computer and Control Engineering said, "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".

Duan further added, "In the end, cars, whether driverless or not, and 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".

Presently, the vehicle, in collaboration with Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall Motor, can only drive in a straight direction and there are no plans to go into production.