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Transportation Input Devices

Ford's Bringing Adaptive Steering To the Masses 128

Posted by Soulskill
from the power-power-steering dept.
cartechboy writes: "Most automakers have made the jump from hydraulic power steering to electronic power steering to help conserve fuel. By using an electric motor instead of a hydraulic system, less energy is drawn from the engine. Many luxury automakers have also introduced adaptive steering with the electronic power steering systems, but now Ford is looking to bring this feature to the masses. Adaptive steering builds on the existing speed-sensitive function of the electronic power steering system by altering the steering ratio and effort based on driver inputs and settings. The system uses a precision-controlled actuator placed inside the steering wheel. It's an electric motor and gearing system that can essentially add or subtract from the driver's steering inputs. This will make the vehicle easier to maneuver at low speeds, and make a vehicle feel more stable at high speeds. The system (video) will be offered on certain Ford vehicles within the next 12 months."
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Ford's Bringing Adaptive Steering To the Masses

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  • by elistan (578864) on Friday May 30, 2014 @02:08PM (#47130419)
    This isn't exactly new. While I don't know how exactly the system works, Honda offered variable gear steering on the S2000 Type V [honda.com] 14 years ago. A while I don't know if any "for the masses" cars has variable gear steering, there are a number of manufacturers who currently offer it. (BMW, for example.)
  • by HideyoshiJP (1392619) on Friday May 30, 2014 @02:15PM (#47130493)
    That would also be an issue with the electric steering alone. While it's hydraulic, my RX-7 also has speed sensitive power steering and it works rather well. Variable ratio steering was first available on the Honda S2000, and I don't think anyone's complaining. This system simply uses EPAS to accomplish much the same thing.
  • by perpenso (1613749) on Friday May 30, 2014 @02:18PM (#47130529)

    I'm pretty sure designers of fly-by-wire airplanes have already solved the problem. ;-)

    Yes, they had ejection seats for the first couple of decades of fly-by-wire. ;-)

  • by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Friday May 30, 2014 @03:09PM (#47131003)

    They also had people shooting at them...

    Sort of like driving in west Oakland.

  • Re:Old Tech! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2014 @03:23PM (#47131137)

    Very old news.
    I'm not sure about the US, but Euro and Asian car makers have been using similar electric power steering systems (assisted by a motor in the steering column or steering rack) since the early 2000's.

    Also... Electric power steering systems are NOT fly by wire. A physical link still remains between the steering wheel and wheels. The EPS system could loose power or malfunction and you would still be able to steer ok.

    (I've just retrofitted EPS from a 2006 Toyota RAV4 into a 1990 Toyota Celica)

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday May 30, 2014 @03:34PM (#47131253)

    Electric power steering works with sensors on the steering wheel that detect when you turn it, and how much. The car then does some calculations taking into account the force and speed with which you turn the wheel, and the speed at which the vehicle is traveling. It then activates a motor, which actually turns the wheels.

    No, it doesn't.

    EPS is little different from hydraulic power steering. The motor merely assists the driver in steering the car. There's still a direct mechanical connection between the wheel and the steering arms. The sensors on the steering wheel are detecting how much torque you're applying to the wheel, and use that and the road speed to determine how much assist to give via the motor.

    There's no clutch in normal EPS cars. These new variable-ratio ones, however, might just work that way.

  • Re:I have a ford (Score:5, Informative)

    by LanceUppercut (766964) on Friday May 30, 2014 @03:44PM (#47131393)
    No, you don't have "a Ford with adaptive steering". No Ford was ever made with the feature in question. Ford is just thinking about introducing it. You have a Ford with variable amount of steering boost. This has been around forever, even in hydraulic systems. But this is not adaptive steering discussed here. Adaptive steering requires variable steering ratio. Your Ford does not have variable steering ratio.
  • by hackertourist (2202674) <hackertourist @ x msnet.nl> on Friday May 30, 2014 @03:45PM (#47131405)

    Depends on the implementation. BMW, for instance [bmw.com], uses a planetary gear set connected to the steering wheel, the rack and an electric motor. If the motor or the adaptive steering logic fails, the motor is locked and you get an ordinary constant-ratio steering system.
    Checking whether the steering output matches the input would take care of your scenario.

  • Re:Old Tech! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2014 @05:00PM (#47131979)

    What if it malfunctions and actively fights against you?

    Read IEC 61508 [wikipedia.org] and ISO 26262 [wikipedia.org]
    The standard documents can be purchased from whatever organization is responsible for standardization in you country.
    They cover all the "What if contrived example" that you will find people posting on Slashdot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2014 @05:14PM (#47132087)

    Electronically controlled power steering is not allowed in F1.

    http://www.formula1.com/inside_f1/rules_and_regulations/technical_regulations/8708/

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