Steering Wheels that Tell You When to Turn

Today while driving we are often distracted by many things including cell phones, audio systems and the GPS monitors. Unfortunately people will look down at their GPS monitor on the center console while driving especial if they don’t know where they are going. Distracted drivers are a major cause of accidents in the United States. Many people are looking for solutions to this problem including the AT&T Lab. For those of you who don’t know AT&T has one of the best and oldest technology labs in the world. They were key in the development of everything from cell phones to HDTV. They are currently working on a steering wheel that uses vibrations to tell you which way to turn. If you need to turn left the left side of the steering pad will vibrate and if you need to turn right the right side will vibrate. They hope to add other abilities including the ability to tell if there is someone in your blind spot in the future.

My first question was whether having the steering wheel buzz would in it self be distracting. However testing with both younger drivers, those 25 and younger and older drivers 65 and older show that with both groups they are distracted less often using this method. It also showed that driver follow direction better using this method then others. AT&T labs is still doing more testing on this and it will not be in consumer cars anytime in the near future Anything that will keep drivers eyes on the road is a good thing. Do you think this is a good or bad idea. You can find out more about this concept at Technology Review.