Hands on the wheel, eyes on the road
Keypad on the wheel, computer display on the road:
The driverless car will help satisfy the desire to use electronic devices safely on the road. Many safeguards are being developed to enable this transition. Our innovation can be adapted to driving (please see IP for scope) by putting a modified computer keyboard on the steering wheel and a computer display projection on the windshield. Our goal is to keep the driver’s eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, and include not obstructing the view of the road and additional safeguards to reduce the risks of distraction. Our keyboard is special because buttons have shapes that can be recognized using the sense of touch. These buttons are felt under the rim or besides one’s thumbs and have positions and features that match the appearance and position of menu items on the windshield display. The appearance of menu items indicates what happens when a steering wheel button is pressed, such as dialing a phone number, connecting to the internet, or listening to music. A database determines how each menu item appears and what happens when it is selected. Many buttons can be selected to prompt the display of different menus and cause different electronic events, which can be especially quick when the driver is familiar with most commonly used menus. Our technology is an alternative or complement to voice control, which is limited by a number of issues, including road noise, voice variation, privacy and computer verification of the voice command.
Illustration of buttons on the steering wheel within reach of the thumbs. Buttons have different
shapes that are recognized using the sense of touch and match icons beside menu items
projected onto the windshield but not obscuring the driver’s view of the road. Pressing a button
selects a menu item, which can be done without the need to look down at the wheel. For example, pressing the triangle button will prompt initiate additional menus to make a phone call.