Movable Steering Wheel Has a Future in Autonomous Cars
As we showed you earlier this year, The Rinspeed XchangE is a fascinating vision of a potential future for the autonomous car as the mobile office. We were very intrigued by the idea of how the vehicle could adapt to accommodate work meetings while the vehicle is driving itself, but there was more to it. Forget the obvious debate over self-driving cars, or whether or not the driver should be distracted by a meeting when the vehicle is in motion (many argue that the driver still needs to be ready to take control of the car ay any moment). Instead, take a moment to appreciate some of the impressive technology on display in this concept– including a flex-position steering wheel. PHOTOS: See More of the 2014 Rinspeed XchangE Concept
We’re used to steering wheels tilting and telescoping, but Michigan-based TRW has added another dimension of adjustment– lateral movement. The whole steering wheel can move from side to side of the vehicle, allowing either front occupant to be the driver.
VIDEO: Exhibition of the 2014 Rinspeed XchangE Concept
If neither want to drive, it can move to a location most convenient for both occupants. Because the XchangeE is a drive-by-wire vehicle, there is no need to account for a steering column when the steering wheel moves positions.
The steering wheel also has a “hands on/off” sensor to “help support the driver during semi-automated and automated driving situations.” Even if ideas like the movable steering wheel do not make their way to road cars anytime soon, the impending roll-out of semi-autonomous driving functions in near future vehicles would be perfect for the “hands on/off” function.
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