A steering wheel for robot cars

Published: 09:28 GMT, Dec 25, 2017 |
ZF reinvents the steering wheel for robot cars

Engineers at German component giant ZF have come up with a high-tech steering wheel for robot cars that spend a lot of the time driving them.

The new concept features advanced gesture control and hands-on detection to support level-three automation (driver intervention possibly necessary) and enhanced driver interaction. ZF will showcase the prototype at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2018 in Las Vegas, Jan 8-11.

On a divided lane highway, a ­level-three car can monitor its ­environment and watch out for other vehicles and hazards on the road. The human stays in the loop as a fall-back in case of a system ­failure. Beyond level three, cars are completely autonomous.

The new ZF steering wheel features a 7in LCD display in the centre and a LED light strip around the rim with blue indicating the car is in robot mode.

“As we prepare for level three automated functions, the handover of control between vehicle and driver using highly-accurate feedback will be critical,” says Juergen Krebs, engineering vice-president at the company based in Friedrichshafen.

“We believe our new concept is the most intuitive and provides the clearest feedback to the driver.”

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