Ford was granted a patent in the United States for a new system called ‘Non-Autonomous Steering Modes’, which allows a vehicle to be controlled through the accelerometer and gyroscope in most smartphones. First reported by CarBuzz, the system would essentially allow the user to steer a vehicle via a smartphone, much in the same way as your favourite mobile auto racing app.

There are two modes to this system, and both work by receiving wireless inputs from the smartphone and apply them to the vehicle’s front wheels. After making the car-to-smartphone connection, the user would be prompted to align his or her device with the vehicle’s zero steering angle before being granted control.

The working parameters are not known yet, but presumably, this ‘calibrating process’ will only work when the vehicle is stopped. From then, the device’s sensors will start detecting movement, gravity and angle at which the device is being held, then relays these information to the car.


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The second mode involves a virtual steering wheel shown on the device’s screen. Here, the user would be asked to align the virtual steering wheel with the angle of the car’s front wheels. Once connected, the user would be able to steer the car with their finger on the smartphone. However, both modes would require electric actuators to turn the wheel due to the physical disconnect between car and driver.

While the concept has been patented, it’s worth noting that the technology may not be featured in a production vehicle anytime soon. Also, the Blue Oval said the documents above are intended to be used for illustrative purposes only, so don’t hold your breath on this one.