A research by AT&T Labs in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University could help prevent road accidents caused by distractions through developing a smart steering wheel. The system aims to be less distracting unlike the conventional visual and auditory cues. For the new system, vibrating wheel will tell drivers when to turn. The mobile phone accounts for a good percentage of car accidents world over. It is such a distraction to driving that governments have banned its use when driving. However, that has not been enough. The latest effort by the wireless industry targets reducing driving distractions to a minimal.
The AT&T Labs research is working on a vibrating steering wheel that will give drivers all vital navigation information in a safer manner than on-screen displays or GPS commands. The researchers are mainly leveraging haptics technology, incorporating 20 actuators in the wheel. “Turn right” is indicated by a clockwise pattern of vibrations on the steering wheel. A counterclockwise vibration indicates “turn left.” Separately, researchers at The University of Texas, Austin, are also working on computer systems that may control intersections for self-driving cars. The intersections of the future will not rely on stoplights or stop signs.
The AT&T researchers are working on additional applications to enable this system notify drivers of blind spots, as well as enhance GPS navigation. The system will greatly reduce driving inattentiveness by allowing drivers to focus more on the road. The research established that the addition of haptic feedback greatly reduces inattentiveness amongst drivers aged 25 years and below. Last year, Ford Motor Co. said it intends to use the Google Prediction API to predict driver behavior and use that input to make cars perform better.
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