Vibrations on the seat bottom are actually very useful in alerting drivers of an impending crash. The first car in the industry to use this type of haptic feedback to improve safety is the all-new Cadillac XTS luxury sedan that starts production in the spring. This technology on directional tactile sensation is patented as the Cadillac Safety Alert Seat.
Vibrating pulse patterns are generated on the left and/or right side of the lower bolster to inform the driver of possible dangers like drifting from a traffic lane or onto nearby objects while parking. Both sides of the seat pulsate when there are perceived threats from the front and rear. Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said that it is pleased that automakers are trying out new things that help alert the drivers when trouble is coming.
This system works together with other visual alerts. According to research, this type of feedback could quickly and accurately focus driver attention to the direction of possible trouble. General Motors Active Safety Technical Fellow Raymond Kiefer said that this is similar to being tapped on the shoulder to get some attention.
This technology works on the notion that the tactile sense can communicate crash threat direction more effectively since it gets past the overwhelming visual and auditory sensory information that drivers experience. These seats are included in the Cadillac Driver Awareness and Driver Assist packages, a mixture of active safety systems meant to help drivers prevent crashes.
The Driver Awareness Package can be launched on the Cadillac XTS this spring, including Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Available this fall, the Driver Assist Package also comes with the Safety Alert Seat, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Collision Preparation, and Front and Rear Automatic Braking Systems. In addition, the Drive Assist Awareness and Driver Assist packages will be offered on the Cadillac ATS luxury sedan and SRX luxury crossover.