A vibrating steering wheel could help drivers blinded by bright light stay on the road. The sun appearing from behind a cloud or undipped headlights can impair driving and cause drivers to drift out of their lane.
New Scientist reports that Eelke Folmer and Burkay Sucu from the University of Reno in Nevada have designed the steering wheel, which vibrates on either side to direct the driver which way to turn.
The wheel helps them steer using tactile cues, and utilizes the car’s GPS to map out the whereabouts of the vehicle on the road. Sensors are used to detect when the driver is temporarily blinded and drifting out of their lane, which then activates the system.
Using vibrations tuned to 275 hertz (the frequency that skin is most sensitive to), the steering wheel would offer tactile cues based on which direction they needed to steer. So if they drift left, the left side of the wheel would vibrate, and if they drift right, the right side would vibrate, until they were back under control and safely in their lane.