The IMx electric crossover concept vehicle, first revealed by Nissan in October 2017, has been updated with new features including the company’s Brain-to-Vehicle (B2V) technology. The new concept, IMx Kuro, also features aesthetic enhancements.
At the core of the Nissan IMx Kuro’s technological features is a future version of ProPILOT that offers fully autonomous operation. When ProPILOT drive mode is selected, the system stows the steering wheel inside the dashboard and reclines all seats. When Manual drive mode is selected, the vehicle returns the steering wheel and seats to their original position, transferring control back to the driver.
B2V uses signals from the driver’s brain to assist with driving and to help the vehicle’s autonomous and manual systems learn from the driver. The technology is intended to speed up reaction times for drivers and lead to cars that keep adapting to make driving more enjoyable. This breakthrough is the result of research into using brain decoding technology to predict a driver’s actions and detect discomfort.
By catching signs that the driver’s brain is about to initiate a movement such as turning the steering wheel or pushing the accelerator pedal driver assist technologies can begin the action more quickly. This can improve reaction times and enhance manual driving. By detecting and evaluating driver discomfort, AI can change the driving configuration or driving style when in autonomous mode.
The driver wears a device that measures brainwave activity, which is then analysed by autonomous systems. By anticipating intended movement, the systems can take actions such as turning the steering wheel or slowing the car 0.2 to 0.5 seconds faster than the driver, while remaining largely imperceptible.
The vehicle adopts Nissan’s new electric vehicle platform, designed for maximum efficiency. It allows the floor to be completely flat, giving more interior space. The IMx Kuro is propelled by a pair of high-output electric motors at the front and rear, giving it all-wheel-drive capability. They combine to produce 320kW of power and 700Nm of torque, sourced from a high-capacity battery that’s been redesigned and re-engineered for increased energy density. This new battery supports a driving range of more than 600km on a single charge.
Nissan says IMx Kuro can also contribute to social infrastructure. For example, after transporting its owner to the airport, the car can park itself in a spot where the vehicle can connect to the local power grid and act as a power plant, returning electricity to the grid. When the owner returns, the car can pick them up at the terminal and drive home. The process makes use of connected car technologies including Seamless Autonomous Mobility.
The car’s panoramic OLED instrument panel displays a view of the external environment in the background. A separate, wood grain-patterned display below the instrument panel and wrapping around the interior door trims, gives occupants a subtle sense of the outside. AI enables the driver to control the instrument panel with eye movements and hand gestures.