As part of a British car insurance marketing campaign, the Epic Mind Drive project wants to remind customers to use their heads when behind the wheel, and to keep you safe while saving money on your car insurance.
Using a modified BMW i3 electric car, the team of MoneySuperMarket has given lucky members of the public the opportunity to be brain trained and drive the car through an electroencephalography (EEG) headset manufactured by Emotiv.
The BMW was fitted with a mechanical rig capable of pressing the pedals and turning the steering wheel on command, while the drivers received an EEG neuro headset to monitor their brain activity while being trained to remotely drive the car.
The drivers’ training involved thinking left, right, and about going forward and stopping. However, instead of simply thinking about the actions and movements, the training involves associating a specific mental image with each command. According to this Dailymail article, the software can be trained to associate a person thinking about a floating balloon with turning left. Each time the driver thinks of the floating balloon their brain signals are the same, and it is these signals that are ‘translated’ into commands.
Those selected to take the driver’s seat are judged on the track by a series of variables. This includes statistics fed back by a telematics box in the car reporting on how safely and accurately they drive, a technology system used to calculate fair premiums and save drivers money on car insurance policies. Accuracy, smoothness and lap time feeds into a bespoke formula to generate a score that they can take away with them, along with the pride of being one of the very first mind-control drivers.
For those who didn’t have the chance to drive the mind-controlled BMW on 16 July, MoneySuperMarket has also created a mobile game controlled using facial recognition and gestures using their phone’s camera.
Epic Mind Drive project page: http://www.moneysupermarket.com/hubs/car-insurance/mind-drive/
The second video below explains some of the mechanics behind this experiment and how it was all done.