JLR Develops ‘Hot and Cold’ Steering Wheel To Assist Navigation

Wed 29th May 2019

Jaguar Land Rover has developed a new technology which will allow heat within a steering wheel to warn drivers to turn left or right.

The project, which is being developed in partnership with Glasgow University, will see the ‘sensory steering wheel’ help reduce driver distraction by keeping eyes on the road. It is thought that thermal changes within the steering wheel can be used to warn of approaching junctions and roads when visibility is poor.

The technology is also being used to notify the driver that the car has moved to autonomous control when self-driving car legislation is passed in the future.

Alexandros Mouzakitis, Jaguar Land Rover Electrical Research Senior Manager, said: “Safety is a number one priority for Jaguar Land Rover and we are committed to continuously improving our vehicles with the latest technological developments as well as preparing the business for a self-driving future.

“The ‘sensory steering wheel’ is all part of this vision, with thermal cues able to reduce the amount of time drivers have to take their eyes off the road.

“Research has shown people readily understand the heating and cooling dynamics to denote directions and the subtlety of temperature change can be perfect for certain feedback that doesn’t require a more intrusive audio or vibration-based cue.”

Driver distraction with satellite navigation and in-car entertainment systems is a major contributor to accidents, with a recent report from the USA suggesting that the problem leads to 10 per cent of all fatalities.

It’s hoped that the thermal changes in the steering wheel could change by up to 6 degrees in situations where vibrations or audio signals are deemed too disruptive.