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by Tim Beissmann

The all-new Cadillac XTS will become the first vehicle in the world to feature a vibrating seat that is designed to warn drivers of crash threats when driving and parking.

The Cadillac Safety Alert System sends pulse patterns through the left and right sides of the seat base to alert drivers of potential dangers, such as drifting out of a lane of traffic or edging towards an object while parking.

General Motors says research shows the system can “quickly and accurately” focus driver attention on the direction of potential dangers, working in tandem with visual alerts.

The seat forms part of Cadillac’s driver awareness and assist packages, which incorporate features such as forward collision alert, lane departure warning, blind sport assist, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, collision preparation and automatic braking.

The Safety Alert Seat relies on a number of sensors and cameras to help determine when vibration warnings should be activated.

General Motors active safety technical fellow Raymond Kiefer said the concept was similar to tapping someone on the shoulder get their attention.

“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,” Kiefer said.

“Vibrating alerts also may help drivers who do not hear beeping alerts due to hearing loss or competing noises, and may be preferred by drivers and passengers who might be annoyed by beeps and shut crash avoidance features off.

“The last thing we want is for drivers to turn off features with safety benefits.”

The Cadillac XTS is a brand-new full-size luxury sedan designed to replace the DTS. It is based on the Epsilon II platform, which will be shared with the 2014 Chevrolet Impala.

Production of the 2013 Cadillac XTS begins in Ontario, Canada, in May. Cadillac’s ATS sedan and SRX crossover will also adopt the Safety Alert System later in 2012.




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