A steering wheel embedded actuator enables the steering ratio to be automatically adjusted depending on driving conditions for new Ford models.
Ford has created an innovation which the company promises will bring a new definition to power steering. The new technology will be inaugurated on the new Ford Edge Sport and Titanium models which will be launched later in the year.
Named adaptive steering, the new technology makes it easier for drivers to manoeuvre at low speeds whilst making the vehicle more agile at higher speeds.
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 vehicles without the technology, this is a fixed steering ratio. With adaptive steering, the ratio continually changes with vehicle speed, optimising the steering response in all conditions.
At lower speeds, such as when pulling into a parking space or manoeuvring in tight areas, fewer turns of the steering wheel are required. Adaptive steering makes the vehicle more agile and easier to turn as it dials more steering into the road wheel.
At highway speeds, the system optimises steering response, letting the vehicle react more smoothly to each steering input.
The system – created in collaboration with engineers from TKAG, a Germany-based automotive supplier – 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 inputs. The result is a better driving experience at all speeds, regardless of vehicle size or class.
After rolling out on the 2016 Edge, adaptive steering will be available for other Ford and Lincoln vehicles in the future. It is also being introduced in Europe, initially on the Ford S-MAX and Galaxy models.