Ford to offer Adaptive Steering in lower segment cars
Ford Motor Company has decided to offer Adaptive Steering technology in its lower segment (entry level) cars. Usually available in high end cars, the Adaptive Steering mechanism helps drivers manoeuvre into tight spaces effortlessly. This feature is announced to be equipped in Ford cars in 12 months.
In collaboration with Takata, an 80+ year old precision engineering company from Japan, Ford will install the required actuator setup into steering wheel hub housing. This actuator consisting of electric motor and coupled gearing system, is controlled with input from sensors that reads driver’s steering motion. Manipulating the vehicle speed and driver’s steering turn-angle, the controller commands the motor to provide appropriate number of revolutions to steering pinion. This helps in reducing number of turns required to be fed by the driver, thus minimising driver fatigue. This system can be turned on or off anytime as per driver’s wish.
Not limited to low speeds, Ford Adaptive Steering also improves steer-ability at high speeds where the driver usually has to continually correct the steering wheel angle to keep the car straight. This system is designed to perform its purpose irrespective of car’s size or class.
In most vehicles with conventional steering mechanism, the ratio of steering revolution to wheel turn angle is fixed by the rack and pinion ratio and Ackermann geometry. Then progressively variable rack and pinion ratio was introduced. This innovative technology was first used by BMW in 2003 and called it Active Steering. It featured in redesigned BMW 5 Series back then. Similar tech is also used in Volvo’s Dynamic steering to reduce driver’s steering effort in trucks; allowing to steer with one finger at low speeds!
“First and foremost, all Ford Motor Company products have to offer a great driving experience,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “This new steering technology can make any vehicle easier to maneuver and more fun to drive.”