GM launches vibrating safety seats that warn you of impending crashes
By C.C. Weiss
March 28, 2012
As GM's marquee brand, Cadillac is the launch vessel for the automaker's technological advancements. The newest Cadillac technology that GM has announced is a vibrating driver's seat that provides tactile feedback to help keep drivers safer. While the vibrating recliner you have at home is designed to keep you comfortable and relaxed, in contrast GM is using a vibrating seat to keep you alert. The Cadillac Safety Alert Seat comes equipped with dual vibration zones that are connected to the car's sensor-based safety systems.
The seat works in conjunction with vehicle systems like Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Side Blind Zone Alert. Instead of relying on a visual or audio cue, the way those systems traditionally would, the Safety Alert system vibrates the driver's seat to provide a quick alert. The seat's dual zones allow it to buzz the left side if the hazard is coming from the left, and the right side if it's coming from the right. If it's coming from the front or back, both the left and right zones will vibrate.
"It’s akin to someone tapping on your shoulder in a crowd to get your attention,” General Motors Active Safety Technical Fellow Raymond Kiefer explained. "Using the tactile sense to communicate crash threat direction provides an effective and intuitive way to cut through the clutter of visual and auditory sensory information that drivers routinely experience."
GM's research has shown that a zonal tactile system is more effective at directing driver's attention to the problematic location than audio alerts. The system works cohesively with other vehicle systems to deliver warnings only when necessary, avoiding superfluous information. For instance, GM says that if you have your blinker on and are switching lanes on purpose, there will be no alert given by the Lane Departure Warning system.
The Cadillac Safety Alert Seat will launch with the 2013 XTS, which hits production Q2 of this year. The XTS will also be the first vehicle equipped with the new CUE infotainment system.