GM launches vibrating safety seats that warn you of impending crashes


March 28, 2012

The XTS features other technologies like Magnetic Ride Control and Haldex all-wheel drive (Photo: © General Motors)

The XTS features other technologies like Magnetic Ride Control and Haldex all-wheel drive (Photo: © General Motors)

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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.

Source: GM

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

While I am all for making cars safer, installing systems that actually lower the requirement for people to pay attention to what is going on around them while driving doesn't make driving safer. I've been reading quite a bit on the Airbus A330 (more specifically Air France 447) fly by wire system. This system supposedly wouldn't let a plane stall, yet that is exactly what happened due to the pilots trusting the flight control computers to keep them out of a stall, in conjunction with lack of time spent/experience flying the plane under manual control.

How much longer until the automotive industry offers a car that can't crash? With more and more "safety" systems seeing the market each year, what kind of training is going to be provided to make sure that people can deal with real world emergencies if one or more of these systems fail?


Not new! They have sold this system in Japan and Europe since a decade. (Nissan and Citroen among others) GM hasn´t come up with something new for the last 50 years.

Andreas Cronström

This is another one of the really stupid ideas...

Does nothing, achieves nothing, except indicating the inevitable.

As far as getting a few moments notice of an impending fatal impact - I'd rather just die in ignorance.

As to why they are not focusing on cars that are in line 2 seaters and get 300Km to the liter....

"Noooooooooooo lets make vibrating seat belts".

Mr Stiffy

Mr. Stiffy, spot on some of the stuff on new cars are totally absurd, the collision avoidance system on my Audi Avant is called me, as is the lane assistance monitor, pedestrian monitor yes even the stability program. Idiots need to learn how to drive and pay attention, it's hopeless, they can't even use their turn signals OH WAIT that needs to automatic too!

Bill Bennett

And vibrates also when you receive an sms, email or phone call.

Dawar Saify

The posters confirm a well known statistic: 80 percent of all drivers think they're above average. Duh!

Elderly drivers are sure to benefit from safety systems, especially for lane changing hazards. These drivers won't suddenly disappear from the roads, so every bit helps.


So now i can get a massage before being dying? The best safety feature any car can possibly have is a well trained alert driver. I enjoy long distance night driving what i want most is a system that tells me how far and how fast and in which lane the oncoming vehicle is in. Cats eyes dont let me know if the car ahead is performing an overtake in my lane.

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