Nissan launches brain function research initiative to enhance driver performance

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Nissan has announced the launch of a program focused on brain function and anatomy research, to further the training and development of Sebastien Buemi and Oliver Rowland, the OEM’s Formula E drivers.

Dubbed Nissan Brain to Performance, the program will utilize advanced brain imaging and analysis to determine the anatomical specifics of high performance, professional racing drivers. Through this, Nissan hopes to develop an optimized training program to enhance the brain functions and anatomy of its motorsport drivers.

“At Nissan, we dare to do what others don’t. With this groundbreaking program, we aim to understand our race drivers’ brain functions like never before and push the boundaries of on-track performance in Formula E,” commented Tommaso Volpe, global motorsports director, Nissan.

“What if, through advanced brain function analysis and training, we could help make our drivers perform better? Every tenth of a second counts in Formula E, so we’re excited to see how our cutting-edge Nissan research team can enhance Seb and Oli’s already high-performing brain functionality.”

The  initiative will be led by specialist doctor Lucian Gheorghe, who has extensive knowledge in the field of brain analysis and training and supports Nissan as it seeks to build a better connection between people and its vehicles, with a focus on its Formula E racers.

“Our brains are incredibly powerful. Without us realizing it, they perform a multitude of critical functions every second we drive our cars,” commented Gheorghe. “Our highly trained and experienced Nissan Formula E drivers perform these functions under intense pressure and at great speed as they constantly search for faster lap times.

“Our new Nissan Brain to Performance program seeks to understand what it is about their brains’ electrical activity that enables them to do what they do. Then, if we can, we’d like to help them further improve their performance through bespoke brain training. In the future, could our cutting-edge research help improve the driving skills of the average driver, and inform the development of our road-going EVs? We hope so.”

To begin with, Nissan will carry out detailed analysis of its Formula E racers’ brain functions, against a control group that consists of non-racing drivers. Both groups of drivers will perform tasks on driving simulators while brain activity is monitored and subsequently recorded. Upon completion of the study, Nissan will develop a driver training program involving electrical brain stimulation to improve driver performance.

Nissan’s key areas of research will be:

  • Understanding how Nissan Formula E drivers’ brain functions and anatomy differ in comparison to average drivers. By establishing a spectrum of driver brain activity, the program will provide a clear understanding of the impact of electrical brain.
  • Through the use of electrical brain stimulation, can a professional driver’s brain be enhanced to improve on-track performance? Once existing brain activity is known, a bespoke driver training program of electrical brain stimulation can be initiated, monitored, and reported.
  • Can brain computer interface training be used to enhance general driving skills, with a longer-term goal to inform and enhance future Nissan EV product development, with a focus on achieving the highest level of driver excitement and focus? Recommendations to be made around the intuitive nature of future EV product development, based on an increased understanding of bioelectricity to further enhance the driving experience.

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After spending six years working as a mechanic for various motorsport and high-end performance car companies, Callum joined UKi Media & Events in February 2020 as an assistant editor. In this role he uses his vast practical knowledge and passion for automotive to produce informative news pieces for multiple vehicle-related sectors.

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