Author's Note: How the Cadillac Safety Alert Seat Works
At first, when I read about this seat, I thought it was gimmicky and silly, to be honest. Is a vibrating seat going to keep you from crashing? Or will it make you crash because you're all, "Why is my butt tingling?"
But I realized the value of haptic feedback when Ray Keifer mentioned that people find blinking and beeping alerts so annoying that they turn the whole dang system off. As an automotive journalist, I've driven dozens of brand-new cars with every literal bell and whistle turned on and going full blast. It's annoying like you would not believe.
I have a rosemary bush next to my driveway. It grows faster than the dandelions in the lawn. Every test car I drive these days has sensors for backing up, and every time I get near that rosemary bush, the sensors go into high alert. "Beep! Beep! Beep! Holy crap! There is something very near my fender! We're all going to die! Die, I tell you! Beeeeep!" Every time I leave the driveway.
If I owned any of those cars, I would also turn off the safety systems. Now, do I really want a daily vibration of my left butt cheek as I leave my driveway? Maybe ...
- GM News. "Cadillac Safety Seat Alerts Drivers to Dangers." Press release. March 27, 2012. (Oct. 2, 2012) http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2012/Mar/0327_cadillac_safety.html
- Keifer, Ray. General Motors Active Safety Technical Fellow. Telephone interview conducted on Oct. 9, 2012.