The AutoEvolution portal found a new application from Toyota in the database of the US Patent Office. Judging by the description and sketches from the document, the automaker has developed a new tactile feedback technology: the steering wheel increases or decreases in diameter with certain actions of the driver. For example, if he is distracted from the road or makes a maneuver that the “smart” system considers dangerous, the steering wheel “inflates” and increases in size, thereby giving feedback.
It follows from the description that the technology can be used on cars equipped with advanced electronic assistants, works in conjunction with radars, cameras, and a variety of sensors, and also includes artificial intelligence that collects and analyzes data. The diagrams given in the patent application show a steering wheel, which, apparently, has a compact pump built in, responsible for increasing the rim.
Variants of situations in which the rim increases in size are also given. In one of the drawings, it is repaired that the steering wheel “inflates” during a dangerous lane-to-lane change, in the other it is depicted how the car turns into the “oncoming lane” — in this case, the steering wheel also reacts to the actions of the driver, which can lead to an accident.
The AutoEvolution believes that Toyota will bring this idea to life and implement it on next-generation cars. However, not all technologies patented by automakers reach the “series”.
Among the Toyota patents that have not been implemented are turn signals for a car that drives sideways. It is proposed to install four turn indicators from the rear on each side: if the driver is going to go strictly to the right sideways, then the turn signals will flash in turn from the leftmost to the rightmost. Additionally, the wheel arches will be highlighted from the side in which the car is moving.