With many major manufacturers developing automated car technology, one has to wonder if the cars of the future will eliminate the role of the driver. Many individuals appreciate the independence and freedom that driving a vehicle offers.

A new concept car revealed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art this summer presents a happy medium between fully autonomous technology and the human-driver-centered experience. It’s called the Roadable Synapse, invented by artist-provocateur Jonathon Keats and engineer Ryan Ayler.

The two innovators have created an interface that enables the driver to literally hear and feel what the car is doing during the drive. For example, the car’s music would increase in tempo as the car accelerates. The driver would be able to sense when the car turns or ascends a hill.

Keats explains the philosophy behind the technology, “What we’re doing is using data from the car’s computer to modulate the signal, so the driver experiences what the car is experiencing…at a deeper, primal level. We’re tapping into how humans evolved to sense the world.”

The technology would help pave the way for automated cars, because it would connect the driver with the car while deploying automated functions. The designers’ goal is to revolutionize the nature of self-driving cars, as a process that includes (not excludes) humans.


As Keats articulates, “We’re applying neuroscientific research to merge the human and the machine in a more organic way. Instead of a driverless car, this is the driverful car. It’s the car-as-wearable.”

Only time will tell whether or not this technology will take root, as Keats and Ayler continue to cultivate it and more individuals warm up to the idea of automated intelligence.

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