Fold your wheel: Hyundai's future vehicles may feature foldable steering wheel
As vehicles continue to transform from just machines used for transformation to spaces full of features, amenities and convenience, carmakers are coming up with newer technologies to make the most of this trend. Hyundai's parts supplier Hyundai Mobis has developed a steering system that can be folded when not in use.
The foldable steering system could make its way into the future mobility vehicles by Hyundai and its siblings. This innovation allows for more space in the driver's seating area and brings about design innovation inside the cabin. The foldable steering can move up to 25 cm forward and back for the driver's convenience.
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Hyundai Mobis spent nearly two years in developing the foldable steering system and the company is currently filing patents for the technology as it has never been globally commercialized before. To develop the system, the parts maker designed new core parts of a steering system, including its column and a reaction force control device. It then applied a sliding rail mechanism to it, securing the system's durability and reliability.
The new technology also enabled the application of assorted designs including a storage type where the steering wheel can be retracted into the dashboard of the vehicle, apart from a foldable design.
Hyundai's new foldable steering system concept can also work in tandem with its recently developed Steer by Wire (SBW) steering system where physical connection between steering system and tyres are replaced by electrical signals. In this case, the steering wheel is connected with a device designed to deliver the steering force to the wheels while the SBW system controls steering with electrical signals.
Hyundai Mobis plans to make its foldable steering wheel as a major export item and also make the most of this technology in the future self-driving cars. “Hyundai Mobis goes beyond simply reinterpreting existing technologies and instead develops parts technologies that apply to future cars in totally new ways," said Jang-don Choi, managing director, Chassis/Safety BU, Hyundai Mobis.