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Pacific Rim The Drift 14
Yancy in the process of Drifting with his brother, Raleigh.
Lily FordAdded by Lily Ford
"Two pilots engaged in neural bridge..."
Jaeger A.I.

The Drift (also known as Drifting or Bridged[1]) is a process that two Jaeger pilots undergo prior to synchronizing with the Jaeger itself.


The initial concept of Drifting was conceived when Pan Pacific Defense Corps scientist, Dr. Caitlin Lightcap, the creator of the Pons System, realized the neural load and mental strength required to control the Jaegers was too much for a single person to handle.[2] After the death of Captain Adam Casey, Lightcap became concerned that the failure of her concept would end the Jaeger Program program before a successful demo of the Brawler Yukon could occur.[1].

The attempt to allow the next potential Jaeger pilot, Sergio D'onofrio, to control the Brawler Yukon on his own almost ended in his death.[1] However, Lightcap acted fast enough that she was able to successfully Drift with Sergio through when she used a spare Pons headset in the observation tower monitoring Yukon's demo to connect with his mind. The latter allowed their minds to become a single consciousness and saved his life. Her actions later sanctioned the production of the Mark-1 Jaegers.[1]

Drifting ProcessEdit

The process of Drifting is a type of Mind Meld[3] that requires the pilots to share memories, instinct and emotions. Drifting allows them to act as one and control the very movement of the Jaeger itself, one pilot controlling the "right hemisphere", the other the "left hemisphere".

During the Drift, pilots will lapse into silence and attempt to keep their mind clear of all thoughts.[2] Random Access Brain Impulse Triggers (or R.A.B.I.T.) is an occurrence wherein one of the pilots latches onto a memory. Focusing on a single memory is discouraged while piloting a Jaeger. The emotions from the memory typically translate into actions for the Jaeger depending on the hemisphere the pilot is calibrated to. A pilot can become trapped in a memory they latch onto regardless of who the memory belongs to.[4] As a result first time pilots and pilots in general are advised never to "chase the rabbit".[5]

Whether two pilots are "Drift Compatible" with one another, depends largely on their personal connection and their ability to work in sync with each other. Compatibility is commonly determined through sparring in areas like the Kwoon Combat Room.[5] Drift compatibility is potential that exists between two people, however, it is not predetermined by the relationship (or lack thereof) of the compatible persons.[6]

Common setbacks that can lead to a lack of compatibility is to judge or control memories that jump to mind during the Drifting process. The "modesty reflex" is considered "antithetical" to creating a connection. PPDC psychologists suggest that embarrassment based on sexual memory is the biggest reason algorithm paired trainees cannot sync together.[7] Trust is an implicit part in creating a strong bond between a potential partner. Familiarity with a partner makes fostering trust easier where it may be more difficult between strangers. Without trust, the Neural Handshake cannot succeed.[6]

Drifting with other lifeformsEdit

At least two incidents prove the human mind can Drift with the mind of a Kaiju. With or without a partner, however, Drifting with a Kaiju can trigger a seizure from a neural overload.[5]


In an active neural handshake, the melded subconscious of the Jaeger pilots creates a “Headspace" where two minds communicate. Communication is said to feel literal, abstract, subliminal or conversational, depending on the persons involved. Each crew unconsciously negotiates its own consensus expression. Communication through Headspace is said to be quicker than verbal communication; sophisticated deliberations can often play out in a matter seconds rather than moments.[8]

Verbal CommunicationEdit

The first time Drifters or co-pilots can be disoriented by the experience of Drifting, particularly when they share no common memory or reference points with their partner. Headspace is difficult to use effectively at first, as pilots are still adjusting to one another's mental vocabulary.

As a result, pilots are trained to call out their moves to focus the thought and teach their co-pilots how to read them. Experienced pilots continue to call out power moves either out of habit or the convenience of LOCCENT Mission Control.[9]

Side EffectsEdit

A known anomaly after Drifting is called "Ghost-Drifting"; confirmed by the likes of Dr. Caitlin Lightcap herself. "Ghost Drifting" is said to be "unanticipated consequence" of the Neural Handshake. Pilots are said to find that their link remains somewhat active, though muted, after they’ve disconnected from the hardware.[10]

Pilots who Drift with one another long enough begin to adopt certain personality traits of their partner, but their own core personality and consciousness remains intact.[11] They also have an uncanny way of knowing what the other is feeling or thinking without the expression through words. The Crimson Typhoon's pilots, the Wei triplets, displayed uncanny synchronicity between each other during physical activities such as basketball.[12] Predicting the thoughts and moves of a co-pilot is another side affect of the Drift.

Solo PilotingEdit

Main article: Solo piloting

When two pilots are connected to the system, the control over the Jaeger is squared rather than doubled allowing Jaeger movement manageable. However, this means when one pilot is suddenly removed from control the burden of controlling the Jaeger by the remaining pilot is essentially increased four-fold. This results in either inactivity from the Jaeger or permanent neural scarring for the pilot for as little as fifteen minutes of solo control of the Jaeger.[12]



Drift info 02
PPDC Example of the Pons.
Lily FordAdded by Lily Ford

Named after the Latin word for "bridge", the Pons is a revolutionary connection system that forges two brains into a singular consciousness. The initial design of the Pons was skeletal helmet with circular clamps that fixed it to the head of the user.[13]

Spinal ClampEdit

Pacific Rim Main Trailer 13
The Spinal Clamp
Lily FordAdded by Lily Ford

Spinal Clamps connect the spines of the two pilots together when attached to the Conn-Pod systems.[14] Spinal clamps are shown to be consistently active before placement, and are stored in foam-lined containers. 

Relay GelEdit

Pacific Rim The Drift 04
Relay Gel.
Lily FordAdded by Lily Ford

Relay Gel resides within the helmet of the Jaeger pilot and relays the impulses of the pilots to one another, allowing them to move in synchronicity.[14]

Neural HandshakeEdit

Drift info 03
PPDC Exmaple of the Neural Handshake.
Lily FordAdded by Lily Ford

The Neural Handshake is the final process of the drift and a bind that enables the two pilots minds to manipulate their Jaeger's every movement. This connection is achieved within the Jaeger when the pilots suits are connected to. The handshake is initiated by PPDC's J-Chief LOCCENT Officer (such as Tendo Choi) as well as the Jaeger A.I.. The Neural Handshake allows man to become machine. Only after a stable drift connection is established can the pilots activate the final phase.[13]

Pons Neural Spike 02
The Neural Spike.
Lily FordAdded by Lily Ford

Neural SpikeEdit

The Neural Spike is invasive auxiliary device used to interface with the brain directly. The spike penetrates the the brain directly to establish a connection with the Pons System. The Neural Spike is used on the Baby Kaiju's secondary brain in order to obtain information regarding the breach.[5]


  • According to Raleigh Becket, Caitlin Lightcap's Drift technology is based on DARPA's Jet-fighter Neural-Interface project.[15][16][5]
  • During the earliest tenure of the Defense Corps, recruiters would use the Xbox and basic questionnaires to determine Drift compatibility.[17]
  • When connected through the Drift, pilots are able to "see" what the Jaeger does through the Pons interface; it allows them to pick up telemetry from whatever sensors are in the direction the pilot looks.[18]


Tales From ZeroEdit



Concept ArtEdit


Start a Discussion Discussions about Drift

  • Real-life Drift

    • Someone has already achieved it. Pretty crazy. One Step Beyond - The First Human Cyborg(02:59)
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