Mind Sense: A Full Guide to Jaguar Land Rover's Brain-Scanning Safety System

Jaguar Land Rover Mind Sense 8 photos
Photo: JRL
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In the recent run for more horsepower, better performances and quicker 0 to 100 km/h sprints, carmakers are also trying to come up with ways of improving safety for those in or outside the car.
Jaguar Land Rover managed to stimulate our interest recently with their pothole detection and dodging system, but here they are again, with a road safety research that uses brain wave monitoring to improve driver concentration.

So we thought you people need a clearer image of what JLR wants to implement here, and as a result we created a guide to it, to cover all the important aspects.

Project Sixth Sense

The initiative saw JLR's researchers getting a lot of inspiration from techniques used in medicine, sports and aerospace with the explicit purpose of scanning heart rate, respiration and levels of brain activity to identify driver stress, fatigue and lack of concentration.

An important aspect of this will lie in the possibility of measuring brainwaves, a way that could 'tell' the car if the driver's eyes are on the road or if he or she is simply not paying attention or daydreaming.

We'll detail the entire process as following:

1. Scanning

The human brain generates four or more distinct brainwaves at different frequencies. By scanning those, an onboard computer will 'know' if the driver becomes sleepy while driving, for example.

However, the most common method for monitoring brainwaves is close to the source using sensors attached to a headband, something that would obviously be very intrusive in a vehicle.

This is why JLR plans to develop a system that detects brainwaves through the hands via sensors embedded in the steering wheel.

The driver's well-being falls under this category as well. The scanning can be done through a medical-grade sensor embedded in the seat of a Jaguar XJ. The sensor was first built for hospital use, and it's so sensitive it can detect vibrations from the driver’s heartbeat and breathing.

2. Alerting the driver

Once the sensors detect a change in the normal brainwave pattern, the one behind the wheel must be noticed and brought back to a maximum concentration state of mind.

First, Mind Sense will alert the driver via an acoustic or visual notification. If a surge in brain activity following the car displaying a warning icon or sound is not recorded, then it could show it again, or communicate with the driver in a different way.

For another type of alert, Jaguar Land Rover are betting their money on haptics (a form of interaction that involves touch). Simply put, haptics could also be used to communicate with the driver through the accelerator pedal.

For example, to create these sensations in the accelerator pedal, an actuator sits at the top of the pedal arm and allows for vibrations or pulses to be passed through to the foot of the driver. The technology also uses a torque motor that can create resistance in the pedal feel.

3. Human-system interaction

JLR are separately working on new technologies that increase the speed and efficiency of the interaction between the driver and the infotainment screen. For that, they developed a predictive infotainment screen.

It's only a prototype, but cameras embedded in the car track the driver’s hand movements, and this enables the system to predict which button the driver wants to press.

According to Jaguar Land Rover, this increases button selection speed by 22% and, therefore, reduces the amount of time the driver is looking at the screen with their eyes off the road.

We could wait a few years until such safety measures are implemented for the first time, but we have to admit this is real life-saving stuff.
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