Eelke Folmer
University of Nevada, Reno

Haptic Interface for Non-Visual Steering

Glare significantly diminishes visual perception, and is a significant cause of traffic accidents. Existing haptic automotive interfaces typically indicate when and in which direction to steer, but they don't convey how much to steer, as a driver typically determines this using visual feedback. We present a novel haptic interface that relies on an intelligent vehicle position system to indicate when, in which direction and how far to steer, as to facilitate steering without any visual feedback. Our interface may improve driving safety when a driver is temporarily blinded, for example, due to glare or fog. Three user studies were performed, the first study tries to understand driving using visual feedback, the second study evaluates two different haptic encoding mechanisms with no visual feedback present, and a third study evaluates the supplemental effect of haptic feedback when used in conjunction with visual feedback. Studies show this interface to allow for blind steering through small curves and that it can improve a driver's lane keeping ability when combined with visual feedback.


The Haptic steering wheel
The haptic steering wheel with a vibrotactor attached to each side of the wheel.


New Scientist - Blinded by sun? Let your steering wheel guide you
Discovery News - A Vibrating Steering Wheel For Blind Spots
Yahoo Voices - Haptic Researchers Devise Way to Avoid Car Accidents Caused by Glare
Gizmodo - Haptic Steering Wheels Could Save You From the Blinding Sun - Vibrating steering wheel may rescue driver from blinding glare
Dvice - Buzzy steering wheel saves you from bright light blindness


Burkay Sucu and Eelke Folmer. Haptic Interface for Non-visual Steering. Proceeding of the International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI'13), pages 427-434, Santa Monica, March 2013. [29% acceptance rate].