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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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  • Ghost in the machine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Friday May 30, 2014 @01:59PM (#47130325) Homepage

    Does that mean that if one of those actuators or logic board malfunctions, that it could steer a car into traffic? All it takes is for a few milliseconds and some force to jerk the wheel out of someone's hands. Or so I would imagine.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2014 @02:07PM (#47130413)

      No thanks, I'll keep my hand on the burger and cell phone and coffee and makeup and... where I'm in full control

    • I'm pretty sure designers of fly-by-wire airplanes have already solved the problem. ;-)
    • 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 Grishnakh (216268)

        I'm pretty sure the S2000 did not have speed-variable-ratio steering; this is entirely new. All cars these days have rack-and-pinion steering, with a direct mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the steering arms and front wheels. What the S2000 had, IIRC, is different gearing on the rack, so as the pinion turned, the ratio would increase towards the limits of the steering range. Basically, the slots cut in the rack were closer together in the middle, and farther apart at the ends. Big f'

        • by ottawanker (597020) on Friday May 30, 2014 @03:09PM (#47130997) Homepage

          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.

          I believe there is an electromagnetic clutch that disconnects the steering wheel from the actual rack and pinion, unless a fault is detected.

          • 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.

        • Here's a Honda press-release [honda.com] on it. It is entirely possible that the S2000 system is something different, but I have a feeling that this is just a combination of an EPAS system that does something similar, in addition to varying weight. I agree with you on the lack of mechanical linkage. Nissan has some system that retains the driveshaft for times when the steer-by-wire is malfunctioning, but I have a feeling that by the time it's malfunctioning (10 years on), the mechanical fall-back mechanism will likely
        • by ultranova (717540)

          What this system proposes is to vary the steering ratio with vehicle speed. I honestly have no idea how they plan to do this mechanically, unless they're going to eliminate the direct coupling between the steering and the front wheels, which sounds like a terrible idea to me

          Some form of continuously variable transmission [wikipedia.org] in the steering shaft, most likely. And it's still a bad idea, since more moving parts means a bigger chance of failure. I'd much rather take a simple straight shaft and just move my arms

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That could be a danger in any power steering system. I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often.

      (How hydraulic power steering works.) [youtube.com]

      Altering the power of the assist shouldn't make this any more dangerous. Worse case, you lose power assist. Although that's bit GM hard lately with their ignition switch recall.

      • Altering the power of the assist shouldn't make this any more dangerous. Worse case, you lose power assist. Although that's bit GM hard lately with their ignition switch recall.

        That's by biggest concern with this: if you engine stalls or turns off (for whatever) reason, do you completely lose steering, or you just lose power assist? There is a huge difference, even though suddenly losing assist can cause trouble.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'll stick with my horse thank you very much!

      None of this newfangled automobile nonsense.

    • by perpenso (1613749)

      Does that mean that if one of those actuators or logic board malfunctions, that it could steer a car into traffic?

      Or becomes unresponsive when the key disengages, like power steering in the recent GM recall scandal? At least there steering only became difficult. They are going to have to power the system as long as the wheels are turning.

      • by sn0wcrash (223995)

        I had one of the Pontiac G6s with the electric power steering assist. Let me tell you, when that electric assist went out it was exceedingly difficult to turn. Even at speed. Hydraulically assisted cars of the past would still be relatively easy to steer when moving over about 5mph. That G6 was absolutely dangerous when the electric assist failed. While GM claimed there was no issue, they did revert to hydraulic steering assist in later models. That alone should tell you the truth of the matter.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        It doesn't work that way. At worst the steering would become heavy due to lack of power steering. The motors are designed so that you can overcome them in the event of a catastrophic failure.

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

      by Anonymous Coward

      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)

      • 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)

        What if it malfunctions and actively fights against you?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          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 hackertourist (2202674) <hackertourist@xm ... t.nl minus berry> 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.

    • by jcdr (178250)

      This is old news: this system is already used on some cars since many years. Toyota for example have it at least since the 10 years old Prius II.
      And now think about the driverless Google car...

    • How about remote control driving your car not in the direction you're intending to drive. In fact I had such a car, it felt like it had a smooth fluid coupling in the steering coulumn, kind of like old stero knobs, but it always acted up when I drove around the same area, or sometimes 10 minutes more south, either under of above a bridge, and I started spinning on the highway at 70 mph once i hit s rainspot, slowed a lot by the time I hit the berm, but both airbags deployed and the car was totaled. Only my
      • I was half asleep writing that last night.. wow, look at the spelling/grammar.. once i hit a rainspot, anything.. anyway, smooth turning stereo knob-like fluid couplings in power steering sucks, such as Dodge Neons from the 90's, especially when it can be remote controlled to go in an opposite direction from where you want to go.. in fact power steering in general has issues, because even in my current car, a Saturn, which feels like there is a rigid connection between the tires and the steering wheel, assi
    • by Nirvelli (851945)
      I've got a Ford Fusion with the lane keeping system, and sometimes it will act up, for instance if there has been construction and they've redone the lane lines, the system somehow picks up the old lines and tries to keep me in them. Or on rare occasions when I have to swerve around something on the road, it fights back. But as long as you've got both hands on the wheel, you'll win against the auto-steering with very little effort. Even one-handed, you just have to be a little assertive with it. "No, you're
      • by Bill Dog (726542)

        Holy crap, dude! A car that fights you over the steering wheel! This is the most alarming thing I've heard in a while. If someone not paying attention ventures onto or over the line between our lanes, I need to be able to calmly ease my car over to hug the other side.

        It's just amazing what a bad idea certain "helping" automation can be. This will just make everyone unsafer, at least until every car on the road has it. I was thinking if I had that I'd have it off normally, and only turn it on if I was d

        • Yeah, that's the other situation where it can get annoying, when somebody drifts into my lane. The on/off toggle is also right on the end of the signal stalk, so you can tap it off right from your fingertips if you need to. You can also set it at low/medium/high, and you can set it to full correct, or just warn with a steering wheel vibration. I've set it to full correct on high, mostly because I like to see how it reacts to things and I know I'm paying enough attention to take over when I need.
    • by havardi (122062)

      Hydraulic isn't much different. A blocked port in the rack and pinion can send the wheel spinning wildly in one direction. Happened to my brother's old Volvo. The wheel would damn-near tear your arm off and try to send you into oncoming traffic. There are a lot of ways to build in saftey. I was impressed with recent brake-pedal light switches. My oldest car was one wire that completed a ground loop. If the switch failed you'd never know. My next car it was two wires. My newest car is three wires, a

    • Citroen, as usual, beat them to it. By decades.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D... [wikipedia.org]

  • That large wheel that can allow two hands grip it completely to steer the car is very old fashioned. For the current crop of young drivers just coming in, they will learn it so much faster if we replace the steering wheels with this. [pixabay.com] They have already accumulated thousands of hours of experience long before they hit driver-ed class. This electric steering will help us get there faster.
    • Fixing the no-hot-link issue. This is the device. [umd.edu]
    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday May 30, 2014 @02:06PM (#47130395)

      This is a stupid idea. For one thing, a big, red, octagonal stop sign is not a good way to steer a car.

      But in case you're talking about joysticks, those are terrible ways to control cars, because they don't have the range of motion that a steering wheel does. If they made any sense at all, you'd see Formula 1 cars with them. You don't. F1 cars all use steering wheels, despite being loaded with an incredible amount of technology.

      • by wagnerrp (1305589)

        Not even proper joysticks, but shitty mini-analogs.

        All you need to do to discover how bad an idea joystick controls on a car would be is to try to use a scissor lift. They have a lot of torque (at low top speed), and you basically have to wedge your arm into the control harness and control the stick with a stiff wrist. Otherwise, you push the stick forward, the lift accelerates, inertia jerks your arm back, and you pull back on the stick. Rinse, repeat...

        • by dj245 (732906) on Friday May 30, 2014 @03:04PM (#47130955) Homepage

          Not even proper joysticks, but shitty mini-analogs.

          All you need to do to discover how bad an idea joystick controls on a car would be is to try to use a scissor lift. They have a lot of torque (at low top speed), and you basically have to wedge your arm into the control harness and control the stick with a stiff wrist. Otherwise, you push the stick forward, the lift accelerates, inertia jerks your arm back, and you pull back on the stick. Rinse, repeat...

          Or try driving any piece of heavy equipment over any kind of rough ground. I wondered why the front-end loader driver kept revving the engine. When I drove it myself, I quickly found out that rough ground + no suspension made the operator's foot bounce on the gas pedal and create a positive feedback cycle. More bump = more bouncing off the gas pedal = even more bumping around.

          Also Saab tried a joystick control in one of their prototypes [wikipedia.org]. Top Gear tried it out in one episode, it didn't work very well at all.

      • Yeah, and since when does a car have auto-aim? You call that realistic driving? Any driver with a keyboard and mouse would beat the crap a console joystick driver!

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Electronically controlled power steering is not allowed in F1.

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

    • I have to disagree. Those take two hands, and the current crop of young drivers will want to operate the media/communications device also. Why not use one of these [wikipedia.org], give it a 9 volt battery, a bluetooth connection, and a piece of Velcro on the bottom. Then you could just put cup holders everywhere, and the driver could stick it to the one that's most convenient.
  • So tell me please, which company is the innovator?
    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Incremental advancements are just as much an innovation as radical changes in design.

      Remember without it you'd still have to use the full force of your body to turn a car into a carpark. Power assisted steering has been a major benefit to drivers all over long before the pipe dream of a steering-wheel-less car was even imaginable. Even now we're talking about changes that can benefit us right now, while Google is talking about changes which will be another 10 years away from popular use.

      Both companies are i

  • 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.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My 1968 Firebird has Variable Ratio steering that was an original option. It works very nicely.

      The only problem: you get used to it and when you drive a car without it, it feels like the steering is too quick, twitchy, difficult to control, and you could oversteer at higher speeds.

      I think all of these automated safety things are great, but if someone who is used to them then has to drive an older or simpler car, they might cause an accident. I'm not saying we should not have these features; I'm just sayin

    • by tazan (652775)
      My 95 Buick station wagon has variable assist power steering, so yeah, I don't see what the excitement is about. It works by using a steering box that varies the ration as you turn and a sensor on the steering column and a variable output pump.
  • I can see this getting ugly quickly.

    • by bswarm (2540294)
      You only need power steering at no/low speeds. Hydraulic Power Steering works all the time (most models) and makes it feel too loose at higher speeds, using electric assist gives power steering at no/low speeds then shuts off at higher speeds which makes the steering feel less sloppy. Example, an old 1968 Ford stationwagon with power steering was easy to steer until hwy speeds then feels like it oversteers way too much.
      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Example, an old 1968 Ford stationwagon with power steering was easy to steer until hwy speeds then feels like it oversteers way too much.

        Meh, I don't think that's the fault of the power steering, it was the fault of the fact that the first quarter turn didn't actually do anything.

        At least, that was certainly true with my father's cars in the 70's and 80's.

        It always felt like the steering inputs were really loosely coupled to the actual steering, and would go from mushy to terrifying in a small increment (wh

        • My girlfriend's 1966 Dodge Dart had power steering and was 7.5 turns lock to lock compared to my 1959 TR3 with no power steering and 2.5 turns lock to lock. Your description of the steering going from mushy to terrifying certainly applied to that Dodge. As you say, the TR3 felt like it was on rails.
        • by Reziac (43301) *

          "...the first quarter turn didn't actually do anything."

          Which usually means the bushings are shot. 1/8 inch or so of shrinkage in old rubber bushings is roughly 1/4th turn of the wheel. -- When we replaced bushings in my old truck ('78 Ford), it went from that same 1/4-turn-does-nothing to completely like-new tight again.

    • IS it more stable, or does it FEEL more stable?

      Yes. Also, yes.

      With conventional, mechanically-linked, non-variable steering, if I twitch the wheel at 2 mph while creeping into a parking space, nothing happens. If I twitch the wheel the same amount on the highway at 60 mph, I lurch sickeningly across a couple of lanes of traffic.

      A sensible system would allow me to make moderately-sized inputs at whatever speed I'm travelling, and convert those to appropriate adjustments of the wheels of the car: big deflections of my tires with lots of power assis

  • Bleh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by m.dillon (147925) on Friday May 30, 2014 @02:15PM (#47130491) Homepage

    Sounds idiotic to me. Non-linear steering is great, but any sort of dynamic/adaptive steering that changes according to conditions is stupid beyond belief and will cause an endless stream of accidents because the driver can no longer predict how the car will react to similar steering motions.

    -Matt

    • Sounds idiotic to me. Non-linear steering is great, but any sort of dynamic/adaptive steering that changes according to conditions is stupid beyond belief and will cause an endless stream of accidents because the driver can no longer predict how the car will react to similar steering motions.

      -Matt

      Wow, that's great insight. Glad you're around to lend your experience to those idiots at BMW and Mercedes, who clearly haven't thought of this when deploying the technology.

      • I will stick with the very direct steering input of my motorcycles.

      • Firstly, BMW cars with AS systems in them have notoriously bad steering feel. Secondly, BMW has abandoned AS in favor of ordinary electric boosters. So, it looks like at least someone at BMW decided that this tech is not gonna fly.
      • Sounds idiotic to me. Non-linear steering is great, but any sort of dynamic/adaptive steering that changes according to conditions is stupid beyond belief and will cause an endless stream of accidents because the driver can no longer predict how the car will react to similar steering motions.

        -Matt

        Wow, that's great insight. Glad you're around to lend your experience to those idiots at BMW and Mercedes, who clearly haven't thought of this when deploying the technology.

        Do you find it difficult to look at your Samsung Gear smart watch when wearing the 3D glasses for your TV? Oh, and what's your wifi SSID? I thought it was "COOLBOX" but that's just your smart fridge.

        HINT: Companies pursue and push out tons of tech and features that are shit.

      • by Xest (935314)

        Why wouldn't he be more insightful? It's not like these people always get it right.

        Each time you get a new bit of automation you lose control in a fringe case. I learnt this the hard way with ABS breaks that automatically pump the break to try and give you more control when breaking hard. Problem is, on ice, that's fucking useless, so I ended up sliding long after I'd have stopped without ABS right out into a junction on a slight downhill and had my car written off. ABS was the whole reason this happened -

    • by RJFerret (1279530)

      I loved it, felt like manual rack and pinion at high speed, felt similar to hydraulic power steering at low speed but far smoother. Humans are dynamic/adaptive creatures, and it doesn't feel any different at different speeds--if you didn't know it was an adaptive electronic system, you'd have no clue. Congrats Ford on catching up to what Honda was doing a decade and half ago.

    • by wagnerrp (1305589)
      The steering itself is not adaptive. Only the feel from the steering wheel is adaptive. You will have less power assist at higher speeds. Manufacturers have been doing this with hydraulic power steering for a long time.
    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "Sounds idiotic to me. Non-linear steering is great, but any sort of dynamic/adaptive steering that changes according to conditions is stupid beyond belief and will cause an endless stream of accidents because the driver can no longer predict how the car will react to similar steering motions."

      Only for companies that are unable to create a working ignition switch.

    • Sounds idiotic to me. Non-linear steering is great, but any sort of dynamic/adaptive steering that changes according to conditions is stupid beyond belief and will cause an endless stream of accidents because the driver can no longer predict how the car will react to similar steering motions.

      I used to think like you do. Driving American made cars is what made me think that way. Drive a high end Mercedes at some point to see what adaptive steering is REALLY like. You can drive at 150 miles per hour and the steering feels like it does at 40 miles per hour. Same at 180 miles per hour.

      At no time does it ever act "weird". What it does do is make the steering feel the same no matter what the conditions, which actually makes the vehicle much easier to control. I have driven an SL 65 AMG (and a lot of

  • Ford recall affects Ford Escape and Mercury models from 2008 through 2011 model years and some 2011-2013 Ford Explorer models. The Ford recall was made due to issues with electric power steering systems.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/In-Gear/2014/0530/Ford-recall-includes-914-000-Escape-Explorer-SUVs-with-power-steering-issue [csmonitor.com]

    Really Ford?

  • I have a ford (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday May 30, 2014 @02:48PM (#47130801)

    I have a ford with adaptive steering... You can barely tell its there. The basic goal is to give you lots of help while the car is stationary or moving slow... but make it harder to jerk the wheel when doing 80. Back in the 80s they way over did power steering so you had basically no road feel at all and if someone even bumped the wheel while you were on the freeway it could send you into a spin or cause you to roll. So they cut back on the amount of "help" power steering provided.

    But my truck was recalled yesterday because faults in the system could cause power steering to fail and lead to an accident. They've had 7 confirmed accidents due to this out of some 800,000 vehicles sold.

    Ironic this story pops up a day after a recall for the very feature being advertised. lol

    • 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.
  • I'll be excited about this when a company besides Ford does it. Yeah, I admit it; I am biased. I put aside said bias and bought a used Taurus once. It's transmission promptly died on me.
    • by afidel (530433)

      And I had 4 Taurus/Sables that I bought used and drove to over 225k miles each, so long as you got the Duratec 3.0 those cars were bulletproof. The only reason I went away from them is that I wanted AWD and better gas mileage.

  • by LanceUppercut (766964) on Friday May 30, 2014 @02:50PM (#47130827)
    This system was first introduced by Honda in the their JDM S2000. It was later copied by BMW as their "Active Steering" system and offered in USA in 5-series and 3-series cars. Note that such systems effectively break the solid link between the steering wheel and the steering rack. There were a number of reports of Active Steering failures in 3-series BMW E9x cars. BMW abandoned the system for in new 3-series, replacing of with ordinary electric booster without ratio-changing ability.
  • Despite the fact that such systems break the sold mechanical link between the steering wheel and the steering rack, they are normally rather well protected from mechanical failures. At least Honda's and BMW's systems will normally "fuse" steering shaft in case of any mechanical component disintegration, restoring the classic solid steering link. However, such systems are very susceptible to software failures and simple electrical failures (like water getting into electronics), when the systems "gets a mind
  • by sinij (911942) on Friday May 30, 2014 @03:12PM (#47131023) Journal
    As a car guy, I prefer hydraulic power steering. Electric implementations so far leave you too isolated from the road (both input and output, or feedback are important when handling car). It is also unclear how these new systems will age or if they will fail gracefully.
    • I've had a couple of cars suffer hydraulic power steering failures in rather inconvenient far out locations. I don't know how reliable electric power steering is, but the competition has set the bar rather low.
      • by sinij (911942)
        I disagree with this. Power steering gives you plenty of warning before it fails. It usually leaks oil for YEARS, then produces audible NOISE ether from hydraulics or belt slipping.

        Sure, you can overlook all these signs, but for anyone paying attention these failures are not sudden. If anything, typical hydraulic power steering fails too gracefully, so people keep using it in a failed state.
    • by Waccoon (1186667)

      I just bought a 2015 Subaru WRX with electric steering, and the feel is pretty incredible. Way better and gives much more feedback than my old 2005 WRX with hydraulic steering. People are still saying good things about the electric steering in the Subaru BRZ, too.

      It wasn't long ago that all American cars were very soft and all drove like boats. Whether the technology works or not has little to do with the mechanics and more to do with the tuning and manufacturer's priorities. Thankfully, Ford has shaped

  • Huh, I just bought a 2014 Kia Soul this weekend with this very feature. Ford is a day late and a dollar (or $5000) short.
  • Does anyone sell a real car anymore, and not a rolling computer? If not, sounds like there is a market ripe for the picking.

    • Well, there are plenty of kit cars [caterhamcars.com] you can buy that are quite primitive, but they seem to cost much more than a conventional mass produced car.
      • by nurb432 (527695)

        Sure, you could build something 100% from scratch and even skip the 'kits', or just buy an older car that was pre-perversion in age, but i was thinking along the lines of a current day mass produced vehicle.

        I have not seen one, but that didn't mean it does not exist.

  • $5 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by sehlat (180760)

    Where is Ford going to save the five dollars THIS time?

    Anybody remember the original Pinto, also remembered as a molotov cocktail if struck from the rear? Ford was warned by their engineers that in such collisions, some of the drivers would end up burned alive. Cost to fix: $5 per vehicle. Ford chose the cheaper alternative of paying off lawsuits, without making a serious dent in the Pinto's bottom line.

    So I ask again, where will they save money to kill their customers THIS time?

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      Narrator: A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.
      Business woman on plane: Are there a lot of these kinds of accidents?
      Narrator: You wou

  • Excellent. We'll remove any physical effort required to drive a car, and the entire country will gain weight as a result. Now we have a huge market for exercise machines.
    • by feufeu (1109929)

      If you depend on driving a car to stay in shape either you are a professional rallye driver or the guy who spends endless time delivering stuff with a crappy old truck on winding backcountry roads. For the rest of us it won't make much of a difference IMHO...

  • I like my car interfaces the same way I like my computer interfaces: just do exactly what the fuck I tell it to.

  • It's on my ten year old Prius, what next? Electric air con compressor? Oops, got that too...

  • The Honda CRZ's steering changes depending on the drive mode selection. In sport mode it gets tighter for better handling, in normal and econ it has a soft feel to it.

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