GMC says its 2014 Sierra full-size pickup truck will bring haptic seat technology it calls the Safety Alert Seat. The truck manufacturer says it’s a first for the full-size pickup segment.
According to the official GMC press release, the Safety Alert Seat gives drivers feedback via vibrations from the seat bottom cushion. For example:
When the Lane Departure Warning system’s camera detects the Sierra is leaving a lane without a turn signal active in that direction, a vibration in the left or right seat bolster directs the driver’s attention to the side of the lane encroachment. When a potential collision is detected ahead by the Forward Collision Alert system, both sides of the seat vibrate.
General Motors Active Safety Technical Fellow Raymond Kiefer said GM’s own research showed the technology could alert drivers to the location of a crash threat more quickly and accurately than alerts comprised of a simple beep.
“It’s akin to someone tapping on your shoulder in a crowd to get your attention,” he said.
“Using the tactile sense to communicate crash threat direction provides an effective and intuitive way to cut through the clutter of visual and auditory sensory information that drivers routinely experience.”
The haptic Safety Alert Seat technology works in partnership with other Sierra safety tech: Lane departure warning and forward collision warning. Both of those features use a camera mounted behind the windshield that analyzes the travel lane boundaries at speeds above 35 MPH and can tell how far ahead of you traffic is and how fast you’re closing on it. The press release said the features can be disabled, if the owner would like.
The Safety Alert Seat, along with lane departure warning and forward collision warning, are to be available on “select trims” of the 2014 GMC Sierra, the release said. The release did not, however, make clear which trims will offer the safety features.