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The all-new Cadillac XTS will start production this spring and when it finally hits dealerships, it will be the industry’s first car to feature directional tactile sensation to warn drivers of potential crash threats.
While the “directional tactile sensation” name might sound fancy, in laymen’s terms it’s simply vibrations of the driver’s seat bottom. That’s right, if you’re in danger of crashing your new XTS luxury sedan, the seat will buzz your bum. The vibrating pulse patterns will emit from the lower bolster of the seat, and will be directional (left or right) depending on where the potential threat is emanating. If the potential crash is in the front or rear of the vehicle, the Cadillac Safety Alert Seat will kick in on both sides of the seat.
Cadillac’s announcement to use haptic feedback in the seat comes coincidentally after we reported AT&T Labs researching the use of vibrations in the steering wheel to help make in-car navigation less distracting.
“It’s akin to someone tapping on your shoulder in a crowd to get your attention,” said, General Motors active safety technical fellow Raymond Kiefer. “Using the tactile sense to communicate crash threat direction provides an effective and intuitive way to cut through the clutter of visual and auditory sensory information that drivers routinely experience.”
The vibrating seats will be part of the Cadillac Driver Awareness and Driver Assist packages and also includes Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert in the Driver Awareness Package, available in spring for the launch of the XTS. The Driver Assist Package on the other hand, will be available in fall and also uses the Safety Alert Seat and features Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Collision Preparation, and Front and Rear Automatic Braking Systems.
Both packages will also be made available to the Cadillac ATS and SRX models.
Watch a couple videos of the new 2013 Cadillac XTS safety features after the break.
GALLERY: 2013 Cadillac XTS Safety Features
Last week, details of NHTSA’s distracted driving guidelines were released with some of it focusing on in-car navigation technology.
NHTSA proposed that static images on navigation displays would help make drivers less distracted, but we agree that such a restriction almost defeats the purpose of real-time navigation entirely.
Thankfully, AT&T Labs is thinking outside the box and perhaps providing a solution to lessen distracted driving. The idea is to incorporate haptic feedback into our steering wheels – much like what video gamers get with their simulators – in order to notify us when to turn instead of having to look at on-screen instructions.
Haptic feedback is pretty common in today’s world. We have it on our phones and tablets, each time we push a key, a slight vibration lets us know something happened. Those same vibrations could be sent to the steering wheel in a clockwise or counter-clockwise pattern in order to let you know when to turn right or left.
The study is currently being conducted by AT&T Labs and researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the initial reports are promising. Through the use of driving simulators and incorporating haptic feedback in the steering wheel, drivers are able to keep their eyes on the road longer for more attentive driving.
The haptic feedback study also showed that drivers made fewer errors while turning because they didn’t have to listen to a voice to know where and when to turn.
Instead of removing functionality from something as important as navigation (by incorporating static images), it seems there may be ways to make it even better and less distracting.
[Source: Technology Review]