Meet the 'attention-powered car' that won't drive unless you're concentrating

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Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

The Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RAC WA) and Emotiv have joined forces to come up with a slightly unusual solution for the dangers of driver inattention.

The fast and the studious: the attention-powered car.
(Credit: RAC WA)

The so-called "attention-powered car" features a neuroheadset made by Emotiv, creator of a range of electroencephalography-based monitoring gear.

The EPOC headset.
(Credit: Emotive)

When worn, the headset, known as the EPOC, gauges how focused the driver is on the act of driving. By interfacing with the custom software installed in the car, any lapses in concentration result in the car slowing down safely, as a way of alerting the driver to their inattention.

In fact, the car — a Hyundai i40 — will only run at full capacity when it senses that the driver is giving their full attention to the task at hand.

According to RAC executive general manager Pat Walker:

The impact of inattention is now comparable to the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by speed and drink driving, which are all contributors to Western Australia consistently having the worst fatality rate of any Australian state. Nationally, it is estimated inattention was a factor in 46 per cent of fatal crashes.

RAC WA has produced a number of videos about the attention-powered car, including the one embedded below.

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