It was one of the big winners at last year’s CES 2016 in Las Vegas, the world’s largest technology fair, and no wonder that it obtained the Innovation Awards Honoree in the smart cars product category. SmartWheel is a simple but revolutionary system with a very clear mission: to make cars much safer by helping prevent distractions while driving and to save more lives.Victims of traffic accidents are one of the scourges of this century. One in four accidents are caused by distractions in which the mobile phone is involved and, in the United States, this is the leading cause of death among young people.
At first glance, the device looks like an ordinary cover for the steering wheel, and especially since its installation is very easy: you only need to adhere it to the surface of the steering wheel, like any other case. However, its importance lies in the system that it implements, consisting of a sensor chain distributed throughout the wheel that monitors the particular behavior of each driver. It can also help recognize something unusual or suspicious, since the device emits a series of sound and light indications when something goes wrong. Some of the actions that these sensors can recognize are, for example, whether the steering wheel is being held by the driver or if they are holding it the right way. In addition, it is capable of storing all the information collected about the driver and of connecting to any smartphone and other onboard systems that the car may use via Bluetooth. Thanks to the device’s hyperconnectivity, the car owner can check all analyzed data while driving through easy and simple graphics.
And who happened to launch this simple and useful idea? The inventor of this device is TJ Evarts, an American man in his twenties who got tired of seeing how people get distracted by their smartphones while driving. That’s why he decided to develop this new tool, which is a little closer to the future of smart cars.
Although nowadays the device is only a prototype, Evarts hopes to start selling it by the end of 2016 for $199 (182.5 euros) per unit, more or less.