Futuristic Ford Steering Wheel Has Twin Touchscreen Interfaces

Nov 17, 2014 11:23 AM EST | Jordan Ecarma

A French design student has envisioned a Ford steering wheel of the future that incorporates a touchscreen interface to let drivers go through phone information, driving stats and more without taking their hands off the wheel.

Winning a competition held by Italy's Auto & Design Magazine, the innovative concept comes from designer Jean-Thomas Mayer.

The steering wheel puts all infotainment and display options under the driver's hands and is completely customizable, similar to a typical smartphone, according to BoldRide.

Mayer says the interactive wheel will make for a safer ride since the twin interfaces on either side of the wheel would be both easily accessible for the driver and customizable, so drivers could minimize what they find distracting.

Perhaps a personalized touchscreen will be a better future option than the hands-free systems that automakers have been working to implement.

A recent study commissioned by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that test subjects using Apple's Siri voice-recognition software averaged four points out of five on a five-point scale that measured mental strain.

According to lead researcher David Strayer, "hands-free" systems that use voice recognition are still a distraction, even though the driver's eyes remain on the road.

In one of the virtual crashes, the driver rear-ended a car that had abruptly stopped in front of her, a collision caused by "inattentional blindness," the study said. While the driver had her hands on the wheel and her eyes were up, she still wasn't able to process what was happening and stop in time.

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