The latest gizmo from Japan's Takata will tell you where to go, but not like those verbally abusive digital keychains from the '90s. The Takata CSW steering wheel is designed to interface with sensors in your vehicle and display different messages on an LCD screen in the 12 o'clock position. There are already lights and sirens to let you know if your door is ajar or the washer fluid is low, but the CSW wheel's best trick is that it will talk to the Navigon 7100 navigation system, should you have one. It's an interesting cross-brand lashup that is pushing the envelope of aftermarket integration.
The screen in the wheel works in conjunction with the larger screen in the navigation unit to display instructions, though the improvement over just the Navigon would likely be sufficient. Both the wheel and the Navi can reportedly poll vehicle sensors, though we're not sure exactly how, so the systems would be more aware of what the driver is doing beyond merely position data. Both companies hope the wheel will reduce driver distraction, though we're not convinced that looking down to the wheel rim is any safer or more convenient than the slight gaze diversion to the customary upper center of the dashboard. We don't know of any manufacturer plans to OEM-issue these units, but the effort could portend a future convergence in the gadget galaxy.
[Source: Navigadget via Kicking Tires; Photo: SoundDomain]