General Motors’ safety alert seat – which uses vibrations in the driver’s seat bottom to caution against traffic threats – isn’t new technology, but for two years it has been exclusive to some of GM’s more luxurious models. Now, the vibrating safety alert seat has begun to trickle-down into certain less expensive Chevrolet vehicles.
For 2015, the Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban, and Tahoe all gain the safety alert seat technology. In essence, the driver’s bottom seat cushion vibrates on one or both sides to alert the driver of a threat. For cars with GM’s forward collision-detection system, both sides of the seat will send gentle tactile feedback to the occupant when a possible forward collision is detected.
The seat also works alongside GM’s lane departure warning system, vibrating on either the left or the right when cameras detect that the vehicle is about to leave its lane on that side. Beside being less alarming and unpleasant than an auditory signal, the safety alert seat also provides a new avenue for the hearing-impaired to reap the benefits of GM’s active safety technology.
Plus, according to GM Active Safety Technical Fellow Raymond J. Kiefer, “Using the tactile sense to communicate crash threat direction can help cut through the clutter of visual and auditory sensory information that drivers routinely experience.”