Ford is bringing to market a new generation of steering tech that it claims will help make vehicles easier to manoeuvre at low speeds and in tight spaces. At higher speeds, Adaptive Steering will help make the vehicle more agile and fun to drive.
“First and foremost, all Ford Motor Company products have to offer a great driving experience. This new steering technology can make any vehicle easier to manoeuvre and more fun to drive,” said Raj Nair, Ford’s group VP of Global Product Development.
Adaptive steering changes the ratio between the driver’s actions at the steering wheel – the number of turns – and how much the front wheels turn. In normal cars, this is a fixed steering ratio. With Ford’s new Adaptive Steering, the steering ratio continually changes with vehicle speed, optimising response in all conditions. It’s nothing new, but it’s good news, as such technology has typically only been available with luxury cars in the past.
At lower speeds, such as when pulling into a parking space or manoeuvring in tight quarters, the new system makes the vehicle easier to turn, as it dials more steering into the road wheel. Each low-speed manoeuvre requires less turning of the steering wheel. At highway speeds, the system further optimises steering response, enabling the vehicle to react more smoothly and precisely to driver input.
Ford’s system uses a precision-controlled actuator placed inside the steering wheel, and requires no change to a vehicle’s traditional steering system. The actuator – an electric motor and gearing system – can essentially add to or subtract from a driver’s steering input.
Developed in collaboration with Takata, a leading supplier of automotive steering and safety systems, Adaptive Steering will be available on select vehicles beginning next year in Europe. Ford has never been tech stingy with ASEAN, so we’re expecting to see this in the not too distant future.