Drive Me Crazy

We need a stentorian voice here to intone dramatically the words “In The Future!”

Then again, maybe we don’t, because the full script would read “In The Future….Your butt will help you make your life-or-death driving decisions!!”

That’s the message we picked up at a demonstration this morning of the Cars of Tomorrow, put on by General Motors.

Drivers will soon be hit with a ton of additional information, as wi-fi set-ups tell them when a car is approaching their blind spot or crashes are imminent.

We got behind the wheel of some kind of Cadillac to test the system out on a Reliant Stadium parking lot. The car was fitted with a small screen on the dash, slightly larger than a Blackberry, that relayed info on approaching cars.

When we drove beside a second car, the outside rear-view mirror on that side displayed an icon showing the vehicle was in our blind spot. If we switched on the turn signal to show we were about to move to the left and invade the guy’s lane (although come on: Who uses a turn signal for that in Houston?), the icon dinged…and a vibrating mechanism in the seat started working on our left butt cheek.

If you’re about to rear-end someone, the front of the seat fires up. And your seat-belt pulls tighter on you

“It’s a way to alert the driver to a potential threat without annoying them too much,” says Donald Grimm, a GM researcher.

Whether a female might…ummmm….appreciate a vibrating seat more than a male was a question we didn’t ask Grimm.

But if you’re driving down the highway in a few years and see a brand-new Caddy swerving and tail-gating while the driver seems to be really enjoying herself, you’ll know what’s going on. – Richard Connelly

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