The two known flies in the power-assisted steering broth have either been the ‘too much assist’ and/or the ‘too little feedback’. Manufacturers have always had a difficult time balancing the need for assistance and feedback at varying speeds.
An enthusiast behind a sports car appreciates it when he could feel the surface the front tires are riding on in his fingers and palm. A heavier premium saloon driver won’t be too bothered about the feel as long as the steering is precise. For car manufacturers, providing the best experience has been a hard nut to crack.
Ford has announced that they are working on an Advanced Steering Technology’ which will make its vehicles easy to maneuver and more importantly more fun to drive. The ‘Adaptive Steering’ as Ford likes to call it is designed to improve steering feel at higher speeds and aid more feedback in tight spaces.
Browsing through the press release, it seems that Ford (in collaboration with Takata) has managed to crack the difficult nut after all, possibly!
This new Adaptive Steering is housed inside the steering wheel itself and the company claims that the system will benefit drivers of all vehicles in all driving conditions. How?
Well, here’s how…
There is a car and then there is a computer (there’s always a computer these days!) which measures the speed the vehicle is traveling at and then regulates the amount of electric power ‘assist’ that needs to be sent to the front wheel to make it turn. At parking speed, you get all the muscle you require, and when you are blasting through the countryside the amount of electric ‘assist’ is reduced gradually according to the speed/assist parameter stored in the steering computer. Brilliant!
When can we have this ‘Advanced Steering Technology’? You ask..?
Within 12 months, says Ford, it will be made available on select few vehicles. Hope India gets one on some car!
But would we get a better feel of the surface the tires are riding on? Regrettably, the Ford’s communiqué is mum on that subject. One would hope that it does.