New sensory steering wheel technology will keep your eyes focused on the road
Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguar Land Rover has developed a steering wheel that could help drivers keep their eyes firmly on the road by using different temperatures to convey a message.
The research, in partnership with Glasgow University, has created a sensory wheel where parts can be heated or cooled quickly to inform the driver of certain actions, such as when to turn left or right, change lane or to warn of an approaching junction.
The cues work on both sides of the steering wheel, with the temperature rapidly increasing or decreasing by six degrees Celsius. This technology has also been applied to the gear-shift paddles to indicate when the hand over from driver to autonomous control is complete.
The research has shown that thermal cues alone could be a way of keeping a driver fully focused on the road ahead, with temperature-based instructions, also being possibly used for alerting the driver to fuel running low or points of interest.
Alexandros Mouzakitis, Jaguar Land Rover Electrical Research Senior Manager, said safety is a number one priority for the business, and it is committed to using the latest technological developments and getting ready 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,” he added.
“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.”
Jaguar Land Rover-funded research is part of a PhD study undertaken by Patrizia Di Campli San Vito at Glasgow University as part of its Glasgow Interactive Systems Research Section (GIST).