Vibrating steering wheel could help drivers navigate
A study participant grips a haptic, or vibrating, steering wheel in this driving simulator at Carnegie Mellon University.
March 28th, 2012
09:13 AM ET

Vibrating steering wheel could help drivers navigate

By Brandon Griggs, CNN

Trying to find an address in an unfamiliar neighborhood can be a challenge even with a GPS device.

Peering at the small screen on your dashboard distracts your eyes from the road ahead. The spoken navigation commands can be confusing - did she mean turn here, or at the next street? And pulling up your location on your phone while behind the wheel is dangerous.

Researchers at AT&T Labs and Carnegie Mellon University may have a solution: a steering wheel that uses haptic technology - the same thing that makes your phone vibrate - to alert drivers when it's time to make a turn.

This prototype wheel contains 20 vibrating motors to signal drivers.

The wheel, still a prototype at this point, is synced with a GPS-equipped computer and fitted with 20 little motors that send vibrations to the driver's hands. The vibrations move in a pattern: clockwise for right turns, counter-clockwise for left - and can escalate as the driver nears an intersection.

Instead of hearing a voice and having to process verbal instructions, "drivers get this intuitive sense of which way to turn," said Kevin A. Li, an AT&T Labs researcher who worked on the project. "Users don't really have to think about it. They just get it."

A team of researchers spent about a year developing the prototype. They hope its tactile feedback will be especially beneficial to elderly drivers, for whom turn-by-turn GPS systems can be confusing.

The results of a pilot study at Carnegie Mellon's Human-Computer Interaction Institute suggest the wheel can help keep motorists focused on the road longer.

In the study, 33 "drivers" - about half of them in their 20s; the other half over 65 - sat at a driving simulator wearing sensors that tracked their eye movements and measured their driving performance. The drivers navigated a 3-D rendering of Pittsburgh's streets, complete with pedestrians, while receiving directions via combinations of a GPS map display, audio commands and the vibrating wheel.

The study found that gripping the vibrating wheel, when combined with auditory commands, kept the older drivers' eyes on the road 4% longer than if they used a map display and auditory commands. The haptic steering wheel increased younger drivers' attentiveness to the road by 9%, said Carnegie Mellon researcher SeungJun Kim, the lead author of the study.

The vibrating wheel was less effective in reducing way-finding errors, the study found. Results of the study will be presented at a computing conference in June.

Automakers, increasingly focused on safety as they add more computerized bells and whistles to their vehicles, are no doubt intrigued by the potential consumer applications of this technology.

This post is part of CNNMoney/CNN's "Future of Tech" series. For more, visit CNNMoney/technology.

Post by:
Filed under: Innovation • Tech
soundoff (174 Responses)
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  9. hecep

    Sort of like the stick-shaker used in aircraft. A mechanism causes the control stick to shake (informing the pilot) when the aircraft is in danegr of stalling.

    April 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Reply
  10. That's What's Up

    they should just invent a device to take the cellphone out of a woman's hand while driving. GUARANTEED..... next time you see a car doing something stupid guess what you'll find behind the wheel when you pass them.......GUARANTEED. Try it. It's a fun game and you always win!

    April 2, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  11. Priya

    We are too reliant on technology. Most people can't even read a map now.

    April 2, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  12. funkymonkey1

    I'm already working on a better design. Mine shocks the $@*% out of the driver if they miss the turn. Let's see who's design has better results. My guarantee is that after a couple of missed turns, the driver will never mis a turn again. Of course a lot of kids will be wondering why grandma showd up at the house smelling of burnt mothballs and ozone.

    April 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Reply
  13. Teri

    Cars that drive themselves, vibrating steering wheels – all these advances over the years, yet we still can't build a decently priced car that doesn't rely on gas. Proof right there that it isn't a high priority.

    April 1, 2012 at 11:08 am | Reply
    • Ryan


      April 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
    • Iben il Latleee

      My physicist friend says that the difference between a battery and explosives is how fast you draw the energy out. Sounds trite, but its' true. Physics is a tough taskmaster, and cares little about our desires....

      April 2, 2012 at 11:07 am | Reply
  14. writerscramp

    If vibrating steering wheels become standard equipment in all cars, I wonder how many women will start steering with their thighs

    April 1, 2012 at 10:18 am | Reply
    • stardust

      that is just sick.....yuck..what kinda person thinks these things up in response to inappropriate comment.

      April 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Reply
      • Frank

        People like me. 😉

        April 2, 2012 at 12:02 am |
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        August 22, 2012 at 1:55 am |
    • Rose

      And men will be suing their so called magic wand...Lets see would steer better....Pretty lady with nice boobs, magic wand steers left...Pretty women short skirt, magic wand steers right, and so

      April 2, 2012 at 7:59 am | Reply
      • Rose

        Using, not sueing...duh me

        April 2, 2012 at 8:00 am |
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      August 19, 2012 at 9:22 am | Reply
  15. maggie villa

    I think that this will be especially appreciated by blind drivers!

    March 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • Karen

      Wait, is it legal for blind people to drive, though?? It sounds too dangerous for them to be on the roads.

      March 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  16. mike

    How about making a vibrating stick shift for the ladies ?

    March 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Reply
    • stardust

      Again what kinda person are you for thinking this one?!!!??? just plain sick

      April 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Reply
      • Frank

        Refer to my previous reply.

        April 2, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • stardust

      just plain sick

      April 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Reply
    • saxophone31

      stardust, honestly I'm surprised more people's minds didn't immediately go into the gutter (which is a much much much more fun place to be).

      April 2, 2012 at 8:39 am | Reply
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  18. Ahmed

    Plain stupid. We have voice prompts in gps to tell us turn right, left, second left or third right. Can a vibrating wheel tell that?

    March 30, 2012 at 10:36 am | Reply
  19. Jack

    Forget the vibrating steering wheel. I want a vibrating seat and a car with tinted windows. Now we're talking! 😉

    March 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Reply
    • jack

      you gay

      March 30, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
      • AlabamaSlammer

        Jack, you're not very bright, are you?

        April 2, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  20. Max128

    As usual, someone will come up with an new, unanticipated use for this "vibrating wheel".

    March 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  21. Bradley

    Soon cars be driving themselves.

    March 29, 2012 at 10:41 am | Reply
    • Anthony

      They already do...
      Google built one.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  22. Oscar Pitchfork

    OH! I thought it was for old or stupidly inattantive driver/talker/texter/gameplayers/makeup appliers, etc.

    March 29, 2012 at 10:14 am | Reply
  23. Jason Glugla

    I can see all the stories after the vibrating wheel causes some major accidents.

    March 29, 2012 at 9:46 am | Reply
    • SilentBoy741

      No doubt. Most of the kids in my family were "major accidents".

      March 30, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Reply
  24. humberto

    more crap

    March 29, 2012 at 12:03 am | Reply
    • Technology is evil but Jesus loves you.

      Yea! Just like that their new fangled t-el-e-phone contraption! I mean who would need some like that!? It's just a trend...something else to break. It will never take off. . .. right?

      March 29, 2012 at 8:36 am | Reply
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  25. Ted Ward

    Let's just face it, self driving cars are coming and it will solve all these problems. The aging boomers will insist on it, rather than being homebound and losing their mobility and cars. Everything the boomers want the boomers get. Have you noticed that?

    March 28, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Reply
    • Oscar Pitchfork

      yes they are, and just you wait! my guess is (because engineers don't believe in fallibility) there will be NO way to drive when the computer breaks or goes off-line, and people will be sitting in dead cars for a whole brand new reason...

      March 29, 2012 at 10:17 am | Reply
  26. alkoholik

    When my wheel start to vibrate it usually means I am about to have a serious tire blowout.

    March 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  27. funkymonkey1

    What they need to do is design a GPS that insults you if you miss the turn. No more of this polite "Recalculating Route" BS. It should say "You stupid #$&% idiot! How many times do I have to tell you 'Turn Right on Elm St'. Now turn around and try not to screw it up this time". I'd be willing to bet that after a few of those people will either not get it wrong again or give up driving altogerher. It's win win.

    March 28, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Reply
    • Ted Ward

      They already make GPS that insults you before you even do anything. Have you heard those cold, condescending "recalculating" messages? Sheesh!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Reply
    • Uncle George

      They already have a device for that: it's called a mother-in-law, or as it's more affectionately known "the backseat air bag".

      March 28, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Reply
      • Bradley

        Not no Driving Ms. Daisy :))

        March 29, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • hannah82

      thats amazing x)

      March 29, 2012 at 10:12 am | Reply

      That's why you have a wife .

      April 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  28. Get real

    "... beneficial to elderly drivers... " Yeah, the vibrations would occur at a different speed than their Parkinson's.

    March 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  29. funkymonkey1

    Listen. If you're too f*****g thick to follow the spoken directions of a GPS then you should be taking the bus.

    March 28, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  30. hammer

    That wheel is a Wingman Formula Force GP. It is over 12 years old. You'd think they use something made more recently, and that has more than 190 degrees of turning ability.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Reply
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  31. joe

    why is this new? outrun had a shaking steering wheel in 1986

    March 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • jojoba

      It's new because most of the readers were born in 1986!

      March 28, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Reply
      • impartial observer

        You just hit a huge nail on the head. The reason 25% of all movies and TV series you see today are simple remakes of earlier films and series is because there is no cultural memory of the past. Corporations re-sell the same content as re-hashed unoriginal crap to an ignorant generation that doesnt read and theat believes (and this is true) that the World started when they were born. I've heard this statement ("I don't care about that movie because it was made before I was born...") SO many times by people born in the 70's and later. No surprise there.

        March 29, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  32. SS

    I think this approach will cause more accidents. Not every one likes their cell phone on vibrations. Some people get startled and react instead of acting to the trigger. Also it may get people worried if the vibrations are indicating any steering problems. We all know how many new drivers show up on the roads every year and it will take them time to adjust to these indications. And by the time they adjust we have new generations of drivers on the road.

    I won't be surprised if this is funded by Auto industry who wants to make money. We will have special inspection service to differentiate between steering issues or these unwanted steering vibrations.

    If they design this, I would like the car to have disabling option. Remember when they came with airbags they forgot to add disable switch for younger kids. Seems like auto industry prefers to learn for real life incidents. Airbags switch was very expensive learning.. don't know how many kids dies due to airbags.. it is sad.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Reply
    • Rob

      Presumably one would anticipate the vibrations since they'd have to program their destination into the GPS in order for this system to have any utility. I think that would greatly reduce the likelihood of being startled. Also, given the directionality of the vibrations, I can't see a reasonable person mistaking it for a mechanical problem. I can see this being particularly useful at night or in inclement weather when it can be difficult to see street signs or judge distances. My concern is that most people don't drive at 10 & 2. In order for the system to function properly you need to not only have your hands on the outside of the steering wheel (as opposed to the hub or spokes which, admittedly, is how I drive much of the time), but you'd have to have enough of your hand in contact with the motors to not only sense the vibrations, but the direction in which they're traveling as well.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:42 am | Reply
    • impartial observer

      The gaming industry is ahead of the auto industry. Vibrating steerings wheels and joy sticks have been around for over a decade. Drive-by-wire is already an industry fixture (new generation of H2-hydrogen vehicles) have all controls including steering as a USB interface (you switch which side your steering wheel is on by plugging/unplugging a USB connector. A vibrating steering wheel can be used to alert to speed overage, proximity warnings, radar name it. It's kiddie tech at this point. I have no idea why it's being discussed as "experimental" beyond its behavioural aspects. Technologically is simpler than the 20th century tech that predates it (mechanical, solenoidal, analog sensors etc). What I would like to see is a full seat/steering wheel/PEDAL vibration feedback that lets you "feel" your vehicle's performance, electricity useage, proximity/speed feedback, you name it. no sounds....just different kinds of body-communication between human and machine. Now THAT would be an advance in automotive design...and very doable with current technology.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • steve harnack

      If you had asked your GPS for directions why would it startle you to get them? If your Alzheimers is THAT bad please quit driving. Likewise if you can't tell the diff beween a breakdown and a properly functioning device.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:12 am | Reply
  33. Granny needs a new toy

    I'd sign up for a vibrating seat please.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
    • Cole

      Thats messed up man

      March 29, 2012 at 8:53 am | Reply
  34. Tom

    It still has the same drawbacks as voice or flat screen – it doesn't really guide you through the 3D space you are navigating unless you learn to visualize the information into that reality.
    – my rules of thumb –
    1 if you're lost, traffic laws no longer apply and any manueuver is allowed.
    2 if you're going just a very short distance, traffic laws no longer apply and any manueuver is allowed.
    3 if you're in a hurry (or just feel like you are), traffic laws no longer apply and any ...
    Check out your fellow drivers and try to identify which ones follow the above 3 laws...
    Keep safe out there

    March 28, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  35. Mark of Tennessee

    Daughter: Daddy

    Father: Yes Baby

    Daughter: Why is that lady sitting on the steering wheel?

    Father: Huh?

    Daughter: Why is that lady sitting on the steering wheel?

    Father: Oh hell... shes shes shes... Put your hands over your eyes NOW!!!!!

    March 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  36. Dan

    What is this, a steering wheel for ants?

    March 28, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
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      March 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Reply
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  37. NBD

    Honey, are you coming in the store with me?
    No thanks, I'm gonna stay in the car and get a few more directions.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
    • impartial observer

      Hey....don't complain. Just imagine what mood she will be in when you both get back from the store.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  38. Patrick

    With only one hand on the steering wheel, how can I tell if its vibrating CW or CCW??

    Why not something much more simple... like lighted arrows mounted on the dash hood. They blink faster as you get closer to the intersection. Although I think its not necessary and overkill, its more simple and intuitive that this implementation.

    But if you use this idea, I want a royalty check! 😉

    March 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  39. Jason

    Hold on one sec. Let me turn on my Rumblepack.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  40. Chris

    Something else to replace problem solving and thinking... And we wonder why people are dumber these days?

    March 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Reply
    • impartial observer

      With regards to GPS...true that. It's a redundant useless dummies device for anyone driving in there own city 90% of the time. A simple smartphone app is enough (mapquest, mapping etc). BUT....having better sensorial feedback from your car in general terms has been LOST with quieter, more insulated cars. I have both a 60's Camaro and a 2007 Mustang. With the Camaro I can feel every single vibration from the road surface, from the engine the engine, transmission, suspension. It's NOISY but my car talks to me in a subtle and constant way. I can hear traffic around me and I can SEE much better than my ultra quiet, gliding and smooth Mustang. I think that recovering sensorial feedback about road surface, feeling the space around you defined by surrounding vehicles (proximity and relative speeds) etc would be a recovery of what made older cars more pleasant to drive than today's air-bagged plastic bubbles.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  41. Daniel

    It tells you right before you're supposed to turn? This will be disastrous. You're usually not going to have room to get into the turn lane, or you usually won't have time to stop and make a safe turn. A vibrating steering wheel gives you more information than a voice telling you when to turn? Puh-leeze! And you're telling me a vibrating steering wheel doesn't deter your concentration one bit?

    Will a vibrating steering wheel cause your hands to move?

    March 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Reply
  42. Bjork

    Are people really this dumb? If you can't get where you're going with GPS, there's really no hope for you.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Reply
  43. Daniel

    The GPS I have tells you the street to turn on, plus the map tells you where to turn so you should have a pretty good idea anyways. But the biggest problem I have with GPS is it sometimes says locations are slightly away from where they really are. Why should we expect this to be different?

    March 28, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Reply
    • L

      Good for you.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      Exactly. Imagine driving somewhere and not only seeing a map that indicates to 'Turn Right', an audio voice saying 'Turn Right now', but now also a vibrating steering wheel indicating to 'Turn Right'. Sensory overload, and grandma drives straight into a ditch, mailbox, oncoming traffic, whatever!

      March 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  44. Dan

    Just have a countdown. Turn in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, here!

    It is very easy to do since the GPS knows how fast you are approaching the turn.

    But geeks like to build fun stuff instead of what would work.

    March 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Reply
    • vasechek

      if my car does this to me, i'll zap it with an esd gun where it hurts...
      this is an accident and a lawsuit waiting to happen all while most gps units worth the plastic and sand they're made of already give you an audible indicator of _when_ to turn, as well as the visual of _where_ to turn...

      March 28, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Reply
  45. Tim

    what a waste of technology...we're already all looking at our smart phones for directions anyway......

    March 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Reply
    • Marc

      Except that you shouldn't be while driving.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Reply
      • kalib

        Says the nanny

        March 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  46. J

    ever think that if you don't know where you're driving to that you shouldn't be driving?

    March 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Reply
    • Dan I

      So you've never driven to somewhere you've never been before? Or do you just have a complete Atlas of the World in your brain?

      Even if you know an address, or a street, it can be difficult to find a specific location in an unfamiliar area.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Reply
      • Dudu

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        April 30, 2012 at 2:01 am |
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    • keith

      I have never thought that. How would you ever go someplace new?

      March 28, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply

    "Automakers, increasingly focused on safety as they add more computerized bells and whistles to their vehicles, are no doubt intrigued by the potential consumer applications of this technology."

    They are already looking into a modified form of this technology which the women will love! They are going to add the vibrating technology to the stick shiifters! 😛

    March 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Reply

    I am all for a requirement that after teh age of 60 all persons should retake the Drivers Test (this includes the ride-along with an instructor) in order to keep your license. Live in Florida: I can't recall how many times the old farts from up north come down here and go the wrong way through round abouts!

    March 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
    • JunkRat

      Just put my pre-order in for a Subaru BRZ. At age 73, I am going to hit the autocross circuit. I really don't need to be 'tested' as I am probably a way better driver than you are. I would use my VW GTI, but it doesn't handle as well as the BRZ will. The GTI has grunt, though. On the open road (if traffic and road conditions are OK) i like to boot it along in triple-digits just to keep the aderniline flowing.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • Thomas

      Oh, like that 20 something blonde on YouTube who couldn't figure out how long it took to go 80 miles at 80 miles an hour? We 'old farts' get lower insurance rates for a reason – but I wouldn't expect you to be able to figure that out.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  49. Boater

    If an "aged" driver is too confused by turn-by-turn navigation, they probably should not be driving....

    March 28, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  50. asdflkj2kljklsjklf

    Vibrating steering wheel = drifting out of lane warning = good. That should be the tactile message, NOT turn right or left.

    They should use a heads up display, its long past time that important information be prompted directly on your windshield anyway. Speed, warning lights, and navigational cues should be directly on the windshield.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Reply

      You hit the nail on the head partly.
      Agree totally that vibrations on the steering wheel are meant for drifting over the lane "rumble strips" and when you get a flat. The other statement, not so much.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  51. Joe Sixpack

    Awesome. Gimme.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  52. Jupman

    Some people Just can't drive.

    I knew a person who said the car started to spin...and instead of correcting out of it she just put her hand over her eyes and waited for the crash. I mean come on!

    March 28, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  53. Hmmm...

    How about integrating GPS with forward facing cameras and image processing that highlights where to turn with a head's-up display on the windshield. If you wanted to have fun, it could display a big stop sign when you're about to rear-end the car in front of you, run a red light, or run a stop sign.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
    • Joe Sixpack

      Yeah! Where's my HUD?

      March 28, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • Mark H

      Check out the Chevy Camaro SS; integrates OnStar turn-by-turn directions with a heads-up display. Instructions are projected onto the windshield – brilliant. Couple this with hands-free calling and the darned thing almost drives itself.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  54. bill

    does it mean turn left or right?

    March 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply
    • abqTim

      Is the right side or left side vibrating?

      March 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Reply
    • Ireadthearticle

      Did you actually read the article?

      March 28, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  55. TheScampiCat

    This may startle the youngers on this forum but back in the dark ages we used a very simple tool. It's called a map. It could be folded up easily, was simple to read and was great fun when planning a trip or searching for a destination.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Reply
    • Jack Jackson

      Tell us another story, pep-pep!

      March 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Reply
    • southsidemike

      How many maps can you store in your car. A GPS gives you a map of every street in the US & Canada

      March 28, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • lost again

      We also had gas stations where women could stop and ask for directions. "Real Men" don't ask for directions – which is probably why we are always lost.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Reply
    • Chester

      Women cant drive.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • Daniel

      Map? What is this archaic thing you're talking about? j/k

      March 28, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  56. NODAT1

    why the steering wheel make the seat vibrate

    March 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
  57. Big Bertha

    I think a vibrating stick shift would be much more fun.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  58. JAB62

    I can see it now..."It was vibrating so I let go, that's when I crashed". Or this..."It didn't vibrate so I just kept going straight". Or this.."The vibrating caused my carpal tunnel".
    Remember, you can't engineer out stupid and you can't make things idiot proof only idiot resistant.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply
    • damniel

      A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof iss to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. – Douglas Adams

      March 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  59. Some1

    GPS manufactures need to address the “tell me want to do syndrome”; because when most people start using a GPS they stop using their brain to envision where they need to go. They just watch or listen to the GPS. When you use GPS do you are looking at what streets you are passing? Or are you just looking for the street you need to turn on? I bet most of us are just looking @ the dot on the screen! GPS’s give us a sense of security in not getting lost. But in the same time it takes away some or our awareness to what we are driving by. I find I enjoy traveling more with it off. Getting lost is all part of the adventure and risks in traveling.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
    • Joe in Pittsburgh

      I don't think GPS manufactures can account for people not learning how to use their products. The instructions are pretty straight-forward. I almost never look at the screen: the voice prompts are almost always sufficient.

      The only problem I had the first time I used a GPS was that I was accepting that "Turn left in 300 feet" was EXACTLY 300 feet. Generally, when you hear that, it will probably be the next street. I kept missing my turn until I learned how to use it.

      I like to think that people who are driving a vehicle that costs upwards of $20,000 can invest the time to learn to also operating a device that may only cost $100.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
  60. reimann

    vibrating steering wheel? Thats stall warning!!! Nose up! Nose up! Terrain alarm! Too low! Stall ! Nose up

    March 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Reply
  61. Queen Lattice

    if your steering wheel shakes while you're driving, your tires are probably out of balance!

    March 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply
    • john

      you'll never know now...

      March 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Reply
  62. AlCourts

    March 28, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  63. Jarred A. Burr

    I wonder if the vibrating steering will have any fun vibrating attachments. heheheheheehheheehe

    March 28, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Reply
    • Remember

      When people could actually read a map and know where to go by following the directions on the road.

      Then again our parents never needed a "law" to tell them they should not be reading a book while driving.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
      • Dean G.

        Not at All. They were too busy reading the giant map they unfolded so large it blocked the entire windshield.

        March 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Rickey

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      April 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  64. Joe in Pittsburgh

    I'm still amazed most of the posters here can actually operate a computer well enough to make a post. Your fear of technology is palpable.

    Get out of the last century, toss out your VHS players and rabbit ears and embrace innovation.

    March 28, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Reply
    • Remember

      or learn to read a map and plan a route...but that does require some intelligence as opposed to follow along with the bouncing ball.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
    • Also in Pittsburgh

      My thoughts exactly Joe. Every comment here is negative. The purpose of this device (which is being discussed in a "What's Next" blog, it should be noted) is to help GPS navigation become more effective and safer. Are we as a society prepared to throw our GPS devices out the window because they present a risk of danger if misused? No. So innovations like this are necessary in order to make them safer, as well as to inspire other technologies that will do the same.

      BTW what if a chick sat on it??!!1!? lolololololololz

      March 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Reply
  65. CSnord

    So much for learning to read a map and actually paying attention while driving. If people really need this, then the average American has the intellect of a house plant.

    March 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
    • Coexist

      You are a house plant, which surprises me that you are here talking smack. Have you ever driven in DC or other metropolitan cities that make navigating your way a strenuous exercise? I bet you live in a 2-horse town and your stepdad is the sheriff, fire chief, and football coach.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
    • czyly

      How do you read a map *AND* pay attention to the road? That's gotta be worse than texting!

      March 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
    • Guy

      also get Access denied in Windows Home Vista I have been using pesranol computers for over 30 years Yes, I built my first one from an Altair kit and I have just spent 3 hours trying to login as Admin in Vista and have visted 18 web sites to try to get help nothing works yet!!!!

      June 12, 2012 at 5:54 am | Reply
  66. Grumpster

    Two questions (three questions): 1. Will this work when you're stearing with your knees while eating that Big Mac? 2. Will this work when your hands are busy texting or dialing your cell phone? 3. Isn't this just overkill for stupid people?

    March 28, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Reply
    • schnauzertdad

      In my opinion there is no such thing as "over-killing" stupid people.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply
      • DBHouston

        Good Point!

        March 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  67. SilentBoy741

    My ex already drives like she steers with her a$$. Somehow I think a vibrating steering wheel is only going to make this worse.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:57 am | Reply
    • schnauzertdad

      My ex thinks with her a$$..what a pair they would make.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  68. Jon

    "They hope its tactile feedback will be especially beneficial to elderly drivers, for whom turn-by-turn GPS systems can be confusing." These people should not be driving in the first place. If anything about driving confuses you, you need to stop doing it before you kill someone. I'm sure this device will lead to something useful, but that it might facilitate driving for those who lack the necessary alertness and clarity of mind to drive safely in the first place is a dangerous canard.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:30 am | Reply
    • JPX


      March 28, 2012 at 11:49 am | Reply
    • John Q.

      Those people drive anyway, so anything to stop old people from driving like old people is a good thing.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Reply
      • Jon

        If this could somehow compensate for the fact that their brains just plain don't operate fast enough to process all of the information necessary to drive safely, I would agree with you. The problem is that things like this that make driving "easier" just allow bad drivers to drive longer before they finally are forced to admit they can't do it any more. The longer they continue driving, the more likely they will encounter an emergency situation that they simply do not possess the ability to react or respond correctly to, and this device won't do them anyone any good when that happens. If you ask me, no one over 80 years old should be allowed to drive a car with an automatic transmission. This would solve half of the problem instantly.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Steve McGrew

      It's confused by the GPS, not confused by driving. Few geezers are going to use GPS in the first place. Like my 80 year old dad says about coputers (the same thing his father in law said about indoor plumbing) "I lived 80 years without one and I don't need one now." People his age are going to pull over and consult an old-fashioned paper map.

      The ones who shouldn't be driving is the youngsters who blindly follow their GPS into a river or off a cliff. Nobody my dad's age is that stupid.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
      • Jon

        While I don't debate your point about GPS, I strongly disagree with the idea that no one over 80 is too stupid to drive safely. Fact is, studies show that the AVERAGE driver at 80 years old is equally impaired as a 20 year-old with a 0.08 BAC. Per mile, they have more accidents (albeit, usually minor ones) than drivers between 18 and 20. Your dad may not be one of these elderly folks that cannot drive, but there are a lot of them, and if you live in a town full of both retirees and college students, as I do, you quickly see that it's the older drivers you need to watch out for.

        March 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  69. marinedad05

    Navigation is a must these days. Was in Munich a few years ago, and couldn't have done it without a nav. The steering wheel vibrates technology is really not new. BMW has had it for years. They have a 'lane deviation' option...if you sleep and trail on to another lane, without signalling, the steering wheel vibrates.

    Of course, ATTs application is a bit different, but same technology.

    Now, with GPS, navigation, I don't need to ask directions, and if the GPS makes a mistake, well, it's not my fault, and she can't blame me 🙂

    March 28, 2012 at 11:09 am | Reply
    • Teresa

      That sounds like what it is. I had the same thing with my Jeep Cherokee. That can be pikecd up at your local junkyard or on ebay for $20 bucks or less. It will be a couple bolts and a plug. After that it's smooth sailing! A/C systems are a little harder You can go to a junk yard and get a used one out of a wrecked wrangler, that is your cheapest bet, all the way to buying the aftermarket version from Jeep and having it installed. That will cost you 1200 to 1500 dollars. I priced out getting used parts for a Chevy aveo and it would have been about $400 for the parts. make sure to buy new hoses regardless as these can go bad over time. Good luck and keep on Jeepin!

      April 30, 2012 at 2:41 am | Reply
  70. mrdifficult

    How 'bout people just figure out where they're going before they get behind the wheel. In combination with removing old people from the road, problem solved

    March 28, 2012 at 11:04 am | Reply
    • dd

      Turn off the GPS and read your map. There is nothing more distracting than trying to read a map while driving. A dual screen GPS makes the distraction minimal as you get a overall display of the area and a zoomed in display. Your brain can quickly make decisions. Or you can pick up the map, your magnifying glass and try to figure where you are, where you want to be, and how to get there. What happened to common sense? GPS's remove distractions!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:20 am | Reply
    • JohnC

      mostly agree. I think nav systems are great but I do find it best to note the next few/several key turns ahead of time to let you focus on driving better. We already hear these bizarre stories of people driving into the bay because the GPS told them too - this would happen more with such a vibrating steering wheel because when they feel it some will get a bit startled and just react by turning rather than thinking first.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:33 am | Reply
      • Mohamad

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        April 30, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
      • Adi

        Does the vibration fuctoinn also work with wake up alarm I usually sleep with earplugs so that feature would be awesome! Also, how many wake up alarms can one set?

        May 2, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Ron

      Even if people do consult a map and memorize their route before starting a trip, they'll still be distracted by having to look for street signs – if they even exist – while they should be concentrating on driving. GPS technology seems to make things a LOT safer for everyone.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
  71. atroy

    So many wonderful new developments for people who can't think for themselves.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:00 am | Reply
    • Glenn

      Including the world wide web.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  72. Portland tony

    I'm just friggin' amazed how anyone ever drove from point A to point B and back before GPS.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:37 am | Reply
    • DeeNYC

      yea but they were all lost and fighting with their wife because they refused to ask for directions.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:55 am | Reply
      • Nadejda

        Pros: Pretty good voice quality. Music on my phone soeundd decent with almost no interference. Cons: After a week, I felt the max volume go down noticeably Heavy on the ear. Won't pair with my laptop(never found one that did anyway) In the end switched to a Motorola H270.

        July 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • vegan

      Very carefully and with much trepidation.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:17 am | Reply
    • dnfromge

      I agree – I do not and will never use GPS in the car and I never get lost. Look at a close up map, get a feel for the area and it's main streets, know where you need to go and how to get there FIRST and you won't get lost. Works every single time! However, GPS is good for extended hiking trips – used along with a topo map, but definitely not for the car.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  73. paul

    Was my '66 Plymouth ahead of its time, or just missing a tire weight?

    March 28, 2012 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • anotherview

      neither. it was that slant 6 that was a bit cross-eyed and vibrating at the same time. 😉

      March 28, 2012 at 10:48 am | Reply
    • BD

      Liked 🙂

      March 28, 2012 at 10:54 am | Reply
    • David Tracy

      Is that why you kept driving in circles Paul?

      March 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Reply
    • Ted Ward

      Yes, you were supposed to turn right 46 years ago, stupid!

      March 28, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Reply

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