Electric powered wheelchairs, even their most advanced models, still cannot solve the problem of disabled persons' mobility. While this means of transportation can help to move around the city, one has to look for some other ways for making longer trips. Lobachevsky University researchers have offered their project to the Ministry of Science and Education of the Russian Federation and won a grant of 250 million roubles. The work on the project will begin this month.
The new vehicle will be absolutely unique:
- Compared to an ordinary car that has an internal combustion engine, the neuromobile will have no central engine. This function will be distributed and integrated across all wheels, therefore they are called motor wheels. That is, electric current from the batteries will set the wheels in motion, - explains one of the project participants, head of the Laboratory of Intelligent Biomechanical Technologies Vasily Mironov.
At the same time, the driver will control the car without touching the steering wheel: - The task of the system is to register all brain signals and their manifestations, which in turn will be transformed into commands for the car's drive units. We will equip the car with various sensors that determine the distances, the presence of cameras, and the position of other vehicles. Thus, a real-time traffic analysis will be implemented, - Mironov continues.
According to scientists, potentially dangerous maneuvers will be calculated using a mathematical model. Then the neuromobile driver will be offered a set of options on how to continue the movement:
- Detection results are presented to the pilot by means of augmented reality. At the same time, human brain activity is registered, - Mironov says.
The scientists also plan to equip the car with an eye tracking system:
- However, there are a some difficult issues. For example, how shall we solve the problem of distraction of attention or a person' behavior when the situation changes all over sudden. Therefore, eye tracking is rather an additional tool that we will try to study and develop, - adds Vasily Mironov.
The neuromobile itself is a compact car with a special compartment for the wheelchair. According to our preliminary estimates, this model will cost around 550 thousand roubles:
- At this point, it is too early to talk about the car's dimensions. There are some preliminary drawings, but we are at an early development stage, so the design can change, - he comments the drawings.
The finished model will be presented to the public by the end of 2019. It is planned that after that the production of the neuromobile will be launched. The team that works on the unique vehicle will include not only UNN researchers and engineers, but also university students.