For almost 2 years, Teijin Aramid and Elitac have been working together on the development of a tactile navigation seat for first reponder drivers. As a result of the positive results obtained in this collaboration, it was decided in 2016 to further develop and commercialize the product, resulting in the establishment the joint-venture Sentaz BV earlier this month.
On February 15th, both parties came together to sign the shareholders agreement and celebrate this important milestone in the collaboration. The issue addressed by the Sentaz team is the high mental pressure that first responder drivers experience on their way to incidents, a result of the ever-increasing exposure to audiovisual signals of on-board communication systems. Although on one hand, modern communication technologies help first responders in an effective assessment of the situation on their way to an emergency, a counter effect is that these signals also increase the risk of making navigation mistakes and may distract the driver’s eyes from the road.
Based on the results of an earlier study at TNO, a tactile navigation seat was developed. The seat receives instructions from the navigation system and translates these into different vibration patterns. In doing so, the driver receives gentle vibrations that translate into intuitive navigation instructions upon approaching junctions, exits or even roundabouts. This helps the driver to keep the eyes focused on the road and reduces the chance of making navigation mistakes.
The product, a smart integration of textiles and electronics into a carseat (patent filed), has been tested in 2016 by approaching possible end-users with prototype-systems that demonstrate the key features of the product. The feedback after extensive tests is positive and confirms the anticipated value proposition.
Based on these promising results, Sentaz BV has been established with the goal to further develop, certify and commercialize the system.