Journal article

EEG-based decoding of error-related brain activity in a real-world driving task

Objectives. Recent studies have started to explore the implementation of brain–computer interfaces (BCI) as part of driving assistant systems. The current study presents an EEG-based BCI that decodes error-related brain activity. Such information can be used, e.g., to predict driver's intended turning direction before reaching road intersections. Approach. We executed experiments in a car simulator (N = 22) and a real car (N = 8). While subject was driving, a directional cue was shown before reaching an intersection, and we classified the presence or not of an error-related potentials from EEG to infer whether the cued direction coincided with the subject's intention. In this protocol, the directional cue can correspond to an estimation of the driving direction provided by a driving assistance system. We analyzed ERPs elicited during normal driving and evaluated the classification performance in both offline and online tests. Results. An average classification accuracy of 0.698 ± 0.065 was obtained in offline experiments in the car simulator, while tests in the real car yielded a performance of 0.682 ± 0.059. The results were significantly higher than chance level for all cases. Online experiments led to equivalent performances in both simulated and real car driving experiments. These results support the feasibility of decoding these signals to help estimating whether the driver's intention coincides with the advice provided by the driving assistant in a real car. Significance. The study demonstrates a BCI system in real-world driving, extending the work from previous simulated studies. As far as we know, this is the first online study in real car decoding driver's error-related brain activity. Given the encouraging results, the paradigm could be further improved by using more sophisticated machine learning approaches and possibly be combined with applications in intelligent vehicles.

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