Cadillac’s new XTS will feature a driver’s seat that vibrates when danger is present, a new safety innovation apparently inspired by Mystikal.
Part of the optional Driver Awareness and Driver Assist packages, the Cadillac Safety Alert Seat vibrates either the right or left bolster to alert the driver to roadway threats, such as drifting out of a lane or getting too close to an object while parking. In the event of a threat from the front or rear (ha!), both bolsters start shaking like Magic Fingers in accordance with the severity of the danger. The feature will debut on the XTS this spring.
“It’s akin to someone tapping on your shoulder in a crowd to get your attention,” said GM’s Active Safety Technical Fellow Raymond Kiefer. Well, sure — if you work at Sterling Cooper.
Jokes aside, with modern cars producing so many auditory and visual stimuli, it’s only logical that safety engineers try to appeal to another sense. Faced with the incessant flashing lights and beeping alarms that are becoming increasingly common in luxury cars, drivers might start to disregard or even shut off the warnings they see and hear.
In their research, GM engineers found that drivers respond more quickly and accurately to tactile warnings, such as vibrations from a seat. Since curb feelers are too intrusive, the Safety Alert Seat was born. Similar findings led to the haptic steering wheel developed by AT&T Labs and Carnegie Mellon.
Those with impaired hearing can especially benefit from the new system, which can also alert drivers to the direction of a threat more specifically than a single flashing light or beeping alarm.
“We feel customers will appreciate the intuitive elegance of the Safety Alert Seat, and more importantly, will appreciate the ‘good vibrations’ afforded by the features linked to this seat,” Kiefer said, eschewing obvious Wreckx-N-Effect, Shakira and Jimmy Castor Bunch references in favor of a Beach Boys gag.
Those opposed to the Sharper Image-style safety alerts will be glad to learn that the Safety Alert Seat is not only optional, but the vibrating alerts can be turned off even on cars equipped with the technology.
Photo, Videos: GM
Via Wired Autopia: http://www.wired.com/autopia/