New Jaguar Land Rover ‘sensory steering wheel’ aims to keep drivers’ eyes on the road

New Jaguar Land Rover ‘sensory steering wheel’ aims to keep drivers’ eyes on the road

The sensory steering wheel can use heat to tell drivers to turn left or right.

Jaguar Land Rover has developed a new steering wheel that aims to keep your eyes on the road, and not on a navigation screen.

The steering wheel project, which has been developed alongside Glasgow University, can heat and cool the wheel to tell drivers when to change lanes.

This means that drivers won’t need to look at a screen to follow sat nav instructions. Instead, the steering is quickly cooled and heated to tell drivers when to alter direction. The tech aims to be of most use in poor visibility and at complex road junctions.

The technology can rapidly cool or warm both sides of the steering wheel by up to six degrees, which can be adjusted depending on driver preference. The feature can also be extended to gearshift paddles in an autonomous world to signal when the driver is in control, rather than the car.  

Jaguar Land Rover has also said that thermal feedback can be used instead of vibrations or audio cues, which could be seen as being distracting.

Alexandros Mouzakitis, Jaguar Land Rover’s electrical research senior manager, said: “Safety is a number one priority for Jaguar Land Rover and we are committed to continuously improving our vehicles with the latest technological developments as well as preparing the business for a self-driving future.

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“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.”

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