Nokia Patent Filing Hints at Touch-Sensitive Steering Wheel

Handset maker Nokia just finished filing a patent that shows that the Finnish company also has its fingers in the automotive world as well. With a new touch-sensitive steering wheel, could automakers reduce the number of buttons on the wheel?

The patent talks about a steering wheel that can react to a driver tapping on it and perform an action based on where it was tapped, and what kind of tap a driver makes.

The system could be used to change volume, answer a phone call, select a song or channel, fast forward/backward, select an audio source, change cabin temperature, adjust navigation, show current location and toggle traffic information.

An interesting element is that the patent also mentions that a portable device could act as the control, with one being attached to the steering wheel.

This could help reduce buttons, and get some of the driver distraction issues out of the way. It hasn’t been to be determined if this will actually be put in use, or if Nokia is just sitting on the patent.

Nokia has previous ties in the automotive industry. They own Navteq, a company that provides a map database for GPS systems that are used in many cars. Additionally, they’ve worked with Ford with their Bluetooth systems. Maybe they can use their connections in the automotive industry to get this technology out there and in cars.

We’ve reached out to Nokia for more information but haven’t received a response yet, but we’ll update you once we hear back.