Weird Vibrations: 2014 GMC Sierra's Haptic Driver's Chair the First of its Kind in the Truck Segment

By Trevor Dorchies | April 30, 2013

Picture this: You're driving alone down a long, dark, two-lane country road in your 2014 GMC Sierra after a long day and you begin to drift off. As you drift off, your brand new Sierra begins to wander from into the opposite lane. Then, all of a sudden, you feel a vibration coming from the seat cushion of the driver's chair. A sudden rush of adrenaline courses through your body while you simultaneously perk up and jerk the wheel back to the proper lane.

This Safety Alert Seat isn't new to General Motors, as it's already seen in the 2013 Cadillac XTS, but it is new in the pickup truck segment. The 2014 GMC Sierra will include safety features that have never been offered in a full-size truck, including Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. The optional Safety Alert Seat begins acting up once you trip either one of the aforementioned safety systems.

If the Lane Departure Warning system's camera sees that you're leaving a lane without using the turning indicator, the driver's chair's bottom cushion vibrates a bolster depending on the direction you're drifting in. If a potential collision is detected, both bolsters will vibrate to alert the driver to take evasive action. The use of this haptic driver's chair is the result of a study conducted by GM with results showing that drivers are more likely to respond faster to the vibration than they are to beeps and chimes like other safety systems currently use.

Both the Forward Collision Alert and lane departure warning systems employ a camera that is mounted behind the windshield. A green icon shaped like the Sierra illuminates on the instrument cluster if the system sees another vehicle up ahead. If that vehicle is approaching quickly, the icon turns orange, but if the obstruction ahead closes in too quickly, red lights flash on the instrument cluster and other audible warnings begin going off. The lane departure warning system shows it's working with a similar icon of a vehicle crossing a dotted line on the instrument cluster. This display glows green when everything is acting accordingly, but it will turn amber and begin flashing is something is out of the ordinary. Both of the aforementioned safety features are optional and can be turned off if the driver chooses to do so.

Other available safety features on the 2014 GMC Sierra include StabiliTrak, a back-up camera, front and rear park assist, trailer sway control, and a trailer brake controller. Besides that, six standard airbags line the Sierra's interior while high-strength steel is utilized throughout the body structure.

The 2014 GMC Sierra is set to go on sale later this summer.

Source: GMC