Jaguar Land Rover said it has developed prototype "sensory steering wheel" technology in partnership with Glasgow University.
Parts of the steering wheel heat and cool to indicate turns, lane changes and upcoming intersections.
Alexandros Mouzakitis, JLR electrical research senior manager, said in a Wednesday news release that the temperature changes could be used for nonurgent notifications that don't require "a more intrusive audio or vibration-based cue," such as low fuel or navigational points of interest.
The release said the temperature-based technology was also applied to self-driving vehicles' gear-shift paddles indicating when the transition from the driver to autonomous control is complete.
"We are committed to continuously improving our vehicles with the latest technological developments as well as preparing the business for a self-driving future," Mouzakitis said. "The 'sensory steering wheel' is all part of this vision, with thermal cues able to reduce the amount of time drivers have to take their eyes off the road."
A spokeswoman for JLR said the wheel is a research prototype. JLR would not comment on future use or plans with suppliers.
The project is part of the Scottish university's Glasgow Interactive Systems Research Section.