As Apple is announcing Siri Eyes-Free for cars, rival Nokia is also turning to the automotive space with a patent of its own to offer users an easier way to control their vehicle’s features, such as media play back. Instead of relying on voice control through a dedicated button on a car’s steering wheel, Nokia’s patent would essentially rely on touch-sensitive sensors embedded in a steering wheel.
Engadget reports that these sensors would sense for touch and depending on where the user grips or touches the steering wheel, different settings would be activated. Press in on the top of the wheel, for example, and the volume may get cranked up. Press in on the bottom of the wheel may decrease the volume. Want to skip forward to the next radio station or track, press to the left or right of the steering wheel.
There would also be sensors built-in to differentiate intentional presses from unintentional presses of the wheel as a car jumps over a speed bump as well.
It’s unclear if Nokia intends to bring this to market itself or if the technology will get licensed by car-makers to implement themselves. Perhaps, with Nokia and Microsoft sharing patent technologies, a good fit may be inside Ford cars, which rely on Microsoft’s Sync technology currently inside its vehicles; Ford is also a notable auto manufacturer who is missing from Apple’s Eye Free Siri partner list.