With seat heaters, coolers, lumbar and back supports and even massagers found in today’s car seats, it seems like auto upholsterers will soon have to become certified electricians in order to fix a simple cigarette burn. Well, it’s about to get even more complicated. Cadillac has just announced that its 2013 XTS and ATS sedans, as well as its SRX crossover, will feature vibrating driver seats.
The new technology, which is part of Cadillac’s optional Driver Awareness and Driver Assist package, is a safety feature designed to warn drivers of collision threats by sending a vibrating pulse through the driver-side seat cushion.
The New York Times explains:
The seat generates vibrations on the left or right side of the seat to warn the driver of a potentially dangerous situation on either side of the car. Simultaneous vibration on the left and right warn of threats detected at the front or rear of the vehicle. Situations that might trigger the warning include drifting out of a lane toward another vehicle or failing to notice a rear or forward object when parking. Other visual alerts will reinforce the warnings.
The system senses the proximity of other cars or objects through various sensors and cameras that relay information to a control computer, which determines if a warning is necessary. The cameras also assist during parking duty. [more]
Raymond Kiefer, an active safety technical fellow for General Motors, equates the sensation given off by the vibrating seat to someone tapping you on your shoulder to get your attention – only it’s tapping you on the bum.
Of course this technology is not new. Vibrating steering wheels have been in use for quite some time. However, Cadillac is the first automaker to install it in car seats.
For our sake, let’s hope disabling the technology so that we can make foam and seat cover repairs is as simple as pulling another plug.