It is no secret that a lot of the time, crashes and incidents on the roads are caused by a lack of attention from drivers. Motorists have become increasingly distracted on our roads thanks to Sat-Navs, mobile phones, touch screen interfaces and so on. It’s a real issue that needs to be addressed to ensure the safety of road users and the general public.
Is the USA alone, driver distraction contributes to 10 per cent of all road fatalities each year.
Jaguar Land Rover has come up with an innovative and off-the-wall idea that sensory feedback to the driver can help reduce driver distraction. The idea is that when following directions from the cars onboard navigation, the car will warm up either the left or right side of the steering wheel by 6 degrees Celsius to instruct the driver to turn right or turn left.
The idea is that the driver won’t have to take their eyes off the road ahead at all in order to follow the sat-nav.
Jaguar Land Rover says that for comfort reasons, the driver will be able to manually adjust and increase or decrease the range of temperature change. This video released by Jaguar Land Rover shows how the technology could be implemented in real life…
There are also indications that temperature changing notifications can be used to signal messages to the driver where vibrations might be overzealous. For example, if fuel levels are getting low or if a point of interest is approaching. Similarly, the temperature notifications could communicate messages instead of audible beeping, so your music isn’t interrupted by an irritating noise from the dashboard.
Jaguar Land Rover Electrical Research Senior Manager, Alexandros Mouzakitis, said: “Safety is a number one priority for Jaguar Land Rover and we are committed to continuously improving our vehicles with the latest technological developments as well as preparing the business for a self-driving future.
“The ‘sensory steering wheel’ is all part of this vision, with thermal cues able to reduce the amount of time drivers have to take their eyes off the road.
“Research has shown people readily understand the heating and cooling dynamics to denote directions and the subtlety of temperature change can be perfect for certain feedback that doesn’t require a more intrusive audio or vibration-based cue.”
All of this technology comes following research and development from a PhD study from Patrizia Di Campli San Vito at Glasgow University. Will we ever see this technology put into a production car? Nobody knows. Jaguar Land Rover certainly deserves credit for trying innovative new methods of improving their driver-assistance features, but we’ll have to wait and see what makes it to the showrooms.
What do you think? Do you reckon this technology has legs? Of course, we’d have to try it for ourselves to gauge just how effective the concept could be, but would you be receptive to a steering wheel that rapidly changes its temperature? Let us know in the comments section below.