Ford is gearing up to introduce a new generation of steering technology that will make future vehicles easier to maneuver at low speeds and park in tight spaces. At higher speeds, the new technology will help make the vehicle more agile and fun to drive.
The new adaptive steering technology actively monitors and changed the ratio between the driver’s inputs to the steering wheel and how the front wheel responds or turns. Compared to the fixed ratios in traditional vehicles, Ford’s system continually changes with vehicle speed, and will optimize the steering response in all conditions.
The system is designed to deliver the best driving experience at both low and high speeds. When pulling into a parking space or maneuvering in tight quarters, the new system makes the vehicle more agile and easier to turn by automatically dialing in more steering into the road wheel. Low-speed maneuvers will thus require less turning of the steering wheel.
Ford’s press release is a less clear on how the system will perform at high speeds. We reckon it will tighten up the steering inputs electronically, sort of like what a steering damper does in high-end sportbikes.
The new technology is made possible by a precision-controlled actuator placed inside the steering wheel, and Ford states that it will require no changes to a vehicle’s traditional steering system.
Adaptive Steering will be available on select Ford vehicles beginning next year. The system was developed in collaboration with Takata, a leading supplier of automotive steering and safety systems and a Ford Aligned Business Framework partner.