Mercedes’ New Concept Car Can Be Powered by Your Thoughts

Mercedes’ New Concept Car Can Be Powered by Your Thoughts
Image: Mercedes Benz

We’ve barely scratched the surface on self-driving cars, but apparently, we’re already moving on to cars that can be powered with your mind. Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a new look at its Vision AVTR concept car which is intended to operate according to a user’s thoughts.

Mercedes-Benz revealed its new version of the Vision AVTR at the 2021 IAA Mobility show in Munich last week. The concept previously debuted at CES in Las Vegas but this time it has one major difference, the Brain-Computer Interface (BCI).

The car company has partnered with Disney on the Vision AVTR, which takes inspiration from the sci-fi movie Avatar.

In a similar fashion to Avatar or The Matrix, the Vision AVTR will use a Brain-Computer Interface to record a user’s brain activity via wearable electrodes attached to their head.

According to Mercedes-Benz, “after a short calibration process, a BCI device attached to the user’s head analyses the measured brain waves and triggers a defined function.”

This function can include things like changing the radio station, switching up the ambient lighting within the car and other tasks within the user interface. It’s not quite ready to be driven on the road with your thoughts, but we’re on the way there.

Visitors to the conference actually got to try this out in person on the IAA show floor. For the experience, lights were projected onto the dashboard and and as the user’s brain reacted to the stimuli, the BCI would trigger the targeted function in the interface.

In the experiment, this involved controlling the visual elements of a world created on the digital dashboard, like growing plants and generating wind.

This isn’t the only futuristic concept that the Vision AVTR is testing.

When it was first revealed, Mercedes-Benz announced the car would feature biometric interaction with its driver. This connection is established when a user places their hand on a control element in the centre console which brings the interior to life.

The car can recognise the driver simply by their heartbeat and breathing. Totally cool and not terrifying at all.

The Vision AVTR is designed with an electric engine power of 350kW and will run completely without emissions.

It also features an innovative all-wheel drive with torque vectoring that allows the car to drive each wheel separately and actually move sideways.

The style of the car itself is sleek, futuristic and reptilian with neon lighting that reflects the bioluminescent world of Pandora. The AVTR has an eye-catching 33 multi-directional movable “bionic flaps” that double as solar plates and provide energy to the vehicle.

The concept of the Vision AVTR is pretty incredible, but it’s also still pretty far away from being a reality with no production or release date as yet.

Now the question remains, which will arrive first? The Vision AVTR or Avatar 2?