Ford Motor Company has filed a patent for a a brain machine interface system that could wind up being used in future Ford vehicles, Ford Authority has learned.
The patent was filed on June 13th, 2020, published on October 10th, 2023, and assigned serial number 11780445.
The Ford Authority Take
Back in November 2020, Ford revealed an EEG helmet that it was testing at the time, which uses the brain’s alpha waves to indicate how well a racing driver is performing over any given part of a race by using EG, or electroencephalogram. The idea is to gain insight into what it’s like from the point of view of the driver, as well as see what’s happening in their mind while they are competing, with the hopes that technology can improve performance. Late last year, the automaker followed up that idea by filing a patent for a vehicle operator identification system that can identify the driver from a database of users using information stored in something like a smartphone, and now, it has filed another patent that somewhat combines the two ideas – this time for a brain machine interface system.
Brain machine interface (BMI) is a technology that has been around for a while now, enabling humans to provide commands to computers using brain activity. These control inputs are provided by interfacing an electrode array with the motor cortex region of the brain, either internally or externally, and decoding those activity signals using a trained neural decoder.
The concept of using BMI to control a vehicle isn’t exactly new, but in this case, Ford is exploring ways to make it viable for use in semi-autonomous vehicles. While it may not be something that many of us ever use or have a need for, the idea here is to make it possible for people with limited mobility – such as those that are paralyzed – to drive again, which seems quite promising.