JLR new ‘sensory steering wheel’ technology uses heat to tell drivers when to turn left or right, helping to keep their eyes on the road. This can also help when visibility is reduced due to poor weather conditions.
Parts of the steering wheel can be heated and cooled quickly to help drivers where to turn, change lane or to warn them of an upcoming junction.
The gear-shift panels also have been applied with this technology to indicated when hand over from the driver to autonomous control in future self-driving vehicles is complete.
Research carried out by Jaguar Land Rover suggests that thermal cues could be a way to keep drivers fully focused on the road. These cues are on both sides of the steering wheel, indicating the direction to turn by rapidly warming or cooling one side by a difference of up to 60 degree Celsius. The driver can adjust this temperature.
JLR Electrical Research Senior Manager, Alexandros Mouzakitis, said, “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. 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.”