A multimodal interactive self-driving car responds to the voice and eye movements of Yoshio Ishiguro, a designated associate professor of human computer interaction at Nagoya University, on Oct. 25. (Yoichi Kawatsu)

NAGOYA--Thanks to a multimodal self-driving car that can be operated by simple gestures, voice commands and a glance, there’s no need for drivers to turn the steering wheel or slam on the brakes.

The futuristic vehicle, the world’s first, was created through an academic-industrial collaboration here.

A study team including researchers of Nagoya University, Tokushima University and auto parts manufacturer Aisin Seiki Co., based in Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, rolled out the vehicle to the media during a news conference at Nagoya University on Oct. 25.

The team developed the technology that recognizes “the will of the driver” with pinpoint accuracy by capturing the direction of their eyes, the movement of their mouth and other actions with a camera installed behind the steering wheel.

The driver’s voice, recorded by a microphone placed inside the car, is also utilized to figure out the driver’s intention.

“It will take time to put it into practical use,” said Kazuya Takeda, a professor of signal processing at Nagoya University, who is a member of the study team. “We will strive to raise the performance to allow the self-driving car to operate in various circumstances regardless of who drives.”

When a driver tells the car to “turn right,” it will change directions as instructed.

The smart vehicle can even respond to the driver's question, "What's that?" with the name of a particular building.

The car will answer, “It’s a library,” for example, analyzing the direction of the driver’s eyes, map coordinates and other information.

The team confirmed that its technology not only enables the self-driving vehicle to operate but also to depart and arrive automatically through test runs on the university campus.

This technology is also expected to be applied to robots and other devices to easily operate them.