JLR Sensory Steering Wheel’s hot and cold behavior

Jaguar Land Rover Sensory Steering Wheel

In the dating game, the “hot and cold” behavior might leave you confused and frustrated. But, when it comes to non-disruptive notifications in an automobile, Jaguar Land Rover and researchers at Glasgow University believe that it’s a great way to reduce driver distraction.

We’re talking about the Sensory Steering Wheel, parts of which can be quickly heated and cooled to inform drivers where to turn, when to change lane or to warn of an approaching junction. According to the company, this could be particularly useful during bad weather and poor visibility. The cues work on both sides of the steering wheel, indicating the direction of turn by rapidly warming or cooling one side by a difference of up to 60°C. The driver could adjust the range of temperature change for comfort.

The technology can also be applied to the gear-shift paddles to indicate a handover from the driver to autonomous control in future self-driving vehicles.

The temperature-based instructions could also be used for non-urgent notifications, where vibrations could be deemed unnecessary. A warning when fuel is running low, or for upcoming events, such as points of interest, for example. Thermal cues can also be used where audio feedback would be deemed too disruptive to cabin conversations or media playback, JLR said.

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 – Alexandros Mouzakitis, Electrical Research Senior Manager at JLR

The 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).

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