AT&T develops vibrating steering wheel that can replace GPS

Devices that can take a driver’s attention, like cell phones, tablets, radio, and even navigation, are the causes of several traffic accidents. To try to decrease that number, the AT&T testing lab and the Carnegie Mellon University developed a vibrating steering wheel that promises to guide the driver more safely than current devicesGPS.

The operation of the steering wheel seems simple and, therefore, drivers should pay more attention on the road and less on screens of different types. It has 20 vibrating devices that act individually. So, when the vibration pattern happens in the clockwise direction, the driver has to turn to the right. When it happens in the anti-clockwise direction, the route to the left.

Tests were carried out by the two institutions, using steering simulators. This study showed that younger drivers, with an average age of 25, had 3% more concentration when the new tool was used. Older drivers, 65 years old on average, did not benefit from this technique, but another one – which combined the vibrating wheel with audio information – promoted a 4% increase in attention when they were driving on the roads, according to the websiteTechnology Review.

The researchers intend to make the prototype more efficient. They are studying a system that warns the driver when cars enter the so-called “blind spot”. This and other tools are still in development.

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