Trying to improve road safety – and at the same time reducing your motor insurance premium – isn’t new but MoneySupermarket have now take this to the limit – with the world’s first mind-controlled electric car!
Their boffins have combined the very latest in commercial electroencephalogram (EEG) neuro headsets with the type of remote car control technology you will have seen on TV programmes such as Fifth Gear, and added some clever interpretation software to allow a person to actually drive a car purely using the power of thought.
Based in a blacked-out movie studio deep in the heart of Hampshire, a short but twisty circuit is projected on the studio floor using lasers. A single forward-facing camera is the only feedback the driver gets that the car is actually following their instructions. And I can tell you – its not easy! Each driver has to train the software first, thinking lefty and righty thoughts that the computer can learn and recognise and relay to the remote systems via a local wireless network. In addition, a forward tilt of the head accelerates the car from standing to a safe five miles per hour; a tilt backwards stops it immediately – a good thing when large concrete blocks are deployed to protect sensitive equipment. A telematic system inside reports on how smoothly – or not – the driver is managing to control the car. The whole system took two months from initial idea to fruition and to their knowledge is a world-first.
Anyone who has recently had to organise insurance to cover a new driver knows that because of their elevated risk of accidents, premiums can be extremely high. Lack of experience – or concentration – can be a factor in how well they cope once they’ve passed their driving test. David Harling, Digital Marketing Director at MoneySuperMarket says “Driverless cars are currently being road tested but until they’re an everyday reality, we know it’s as important as ever for motorists to use their heads while driving. Our customers are great at using their heads to find the best car insurance quotes and [this] inspired us to launch the Car Insurance Epic Mind Drive, a once-in-a-lifetime, truly epic experience.”
Now that the system has been tested on a handful of motoring journalists and launched by Carol Vorderman on Tuesday, you could be be one of the very first people in the world to drive a car just by using your brainwaves.
The MoneySuperMarket Car Insurance Epic Mind Drive experience is live now. Drivers should go to http://www.moneysupermarket.com/hubs/car-insurance/mind-drive/ and register before 12 noon on Wednesday 15th July for the chance to drive the mind-controlled car on Thursday 16th July.
Words: Chris Valentine
Photos: Adrian Brooks/Imagewise and Chris Valentine