Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept vehicle points toward thought-controlled driving

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Concept cars are forward-looking in nature, but Mercedes-Benz takes this notion a step further as the brand unveiled the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR at this year’s IAA Mobility show in Munich.

We first saw the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept in January of last year at CES 2020. Inspired by the movie Avatar, the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR presented a slew of visionary features. And the latest, says the German automotive brand, is the possibility of controlling the vehicle using your thoughts.

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“Mercedes-Benz is setting another milestone in the merging of man and machine with the research and development of brain-computer interface applications in cars. BCI technology has the potential to further enhance driving comfort in the future, for example. Mercedes-Benz has always pioneered intelligent, innovative solutions to provide our customers with the best product and service experience. BCI technology works completely independently of speech and touch. This opens up revolutionary possibilities for intuitive interaction with the vehicle,” said Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG Member of the Board Britta Seeger.

During Mercedes-Benz’s presentation at the 2021 International Motor Show Germany, the automotive marque talks about the possibility of using brain-computer interfaces (BCI) to enable this new form of machine control.

From September 7 to 12, Mercedes-Benz will present how BCI technology works and, for the first time, give a preview of mind control as a new dimension of human interaction with the vehicle.

Visitors can experience controlling the user interface in the vehicle with their own thoughts and interact with it in real-time in Mercedes-Benz’s booth at the Munich fairgrounds via a visionary seat mockup of the Vision AVTR.

Mercedes-Benz explains that a BCI device, which analyzes the measured brain waves and triggers a defined function, will be attached to the user’s head. It records brain activity and establishes a direct connection to the vehicle after a one-minute calibration.

The brain then reacts to the visual stimuli on the dashboard of the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR’s seat mockup. The BCI device responds by measuring the brain’s neuronal activity and analyzes the measured brain waves. It recognizes on which light points (on the fully digital dashboard) the user directs his focus and full attention.

The stronger the focus, says Mercedes-Benz, the higher the neuronal activity. The BCI device then triggers the targeted function in the vehicle, allowing Vision AVTR to be controlled by thought.

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“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,” said Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG Member of the Board of Management Markus Schäfer.

Photos from Mercedes-Benz

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