Hyundai Unveils Folding Steering Wheel for Driverless Cars

Hyundai’s automotive supply subsidiary has developed a foldable steering wheel assembly for use in autonomous vehicles.

The stand-alone company, Hyundai Mobis, has unveiled the system that can allow for more space in the driver’s seat and open up new cabin design possibilities for vehicles being used in full autonomous mode. It features a steering wheel that can move forwards and backward up to 10-inches. The development of the technology approximately took two years for completion and the company is currently filing patents globally.

To develop this system, the company designed new core parts of a steering system, including a column and a reaction force control device, and applied a sliding rail mechanism. It allows for various in-cabin designs, including a storage type where the steering wheel can be retracted into the dashboard, as well as the foldable one.

The system is compatible with the fly-by-wire technology for steering the company had previously developed. This controls steering with electrical signals by connecting the steering wheel with a device designed to deliver the steering force generated from the steering wheel to the wheels.

It claims to reduce vibrations from poor road surfaces being transmitted to the steering wheel. Also, the redundancy design of some core electronic parts, such as sensors and ECU in the system, ensures that the vehicle is capable of maintaining normal steering in an emergency.

Jang-don Choi, managing director, chassis and safety business unit at Hyundai Mobis, said: “Hyundai Mobis goes beyond simply reinterpreting existing technologies and instead develops parts technologies that apply to future cars in totally new ways. We will continue to develop future-oriented innovations based on our know-how of core technologies.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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