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Sensory steering wheel improves road safety

Last updated on June 6, 2019

High-Tech sen­so­ry steer­ing wheel watch­es over Jaguar Land Rover dri­vers to help con­cen­trate on the road using heat to tell them when to turn left or right.

Research in a joint ven­ture Glas­gow Uni­ver­si­ty cre­at­ed sen­so­ry steer­ing wheel.

The Jaguar Land Rover-fund­ed research is part of a PhD study by Patrizia Di Cam­pli San Vito at Glas­gow Uni­ver­si­ty.

“Parts of the steer­ing wheel can get warm and cool to inform dri­vers where to turn when to change lane or to warn of an approach­ing junc­tion.

It will be use­ful in poor vis­i­bil­i­ty on the road or weath­er.

The car­mak­er has also applied the tech­nol­o­gy to the gear-shift pad­dles to indi­cate when hand­ing over from the dri­ver to autonomous con­trol in future self-dri­ving vehi­cles is com­plete.

Land Rover said dri­ver dis­trac­tion is a major con­trib­u­tor to road acci­dents around the world and accounts for 10 per­cent of all fatal crash­es in the USA alone.

Jaguar Land Rover’s research sug­gests the cur­rent sig­nal will be a way to keep dri­vers focused on the road.

The sig­nal work on both sides of the steer­ing wheel indi­cates into the direc­tion to turn by warm­ing or cool­ing one side by up to 6°C.

For com­fort, a dri­ver can adjust the range of tem­per­a­ture change.

Stud­ies have shown tem­per­a­ture-based instruc­tions used for non-urgent noti­fi­ca­tions, where vibra­tions atten­tion-grab­bing.

Jaguar Land Rover Elec­tri­cal Research Senior Man­ag­er, Alexan­dros Mouza­ki­tis said they can also use Ther­mal cues where audio feed­back deems too dis­rup­tive to cab­in con­ver­sa­tions or media play­back.

“Safe­ty is a num­ber one pri­or­i­ty for Jaguar Land Rover.

We com­mit to improve our vehi­cles with the lat­est tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ments and prepar­ing the busi­ness for a self-dri­ving future,” said Mouza­ki­tis.

“The ‘sen­so­ry steer­ing wheel’ is all part of this vision, with ther­mal cues able to reduce time dri­vers, have to take their eyes off the road.”

Jaguar and Land Rover mod­els already boast a wide range of sophis­ti­cat­ed Advanced Dri­ver Assis­tance Sys­tems designed to improve dri­ver and vehi­cle safe­ty.

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