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Transportation Input Devices

Ford's Bringing Adaptive Steering To the Masses 128

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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  • 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.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2014 @02:17PM (#47130519)

    I remember reading about a vehicle made in Europe that was completely drive-by-wire with no mechanical linkages whatsoever. Of course, some vehicles had glitches, and when they did, there was nothing to do but hope the wreck didn't kill you.

    You know how many criminal organizations would love to be able to use an assist motor to jam a steering wheel at will? With how interconnected vehicles are, it might just take a bluetooth hole to get on the CANBus, then go from there.

    I wouldn't blame Ford specifically, but I do worry about things like GM's OnStar being a prime target for hackers. Get control of that, disable all GM cars, tout the accomplishment, and win immense street cred. Same with getting motor-assisted steering to start jerking the wheel at random to cause crashes, it would put an organization on the map and give them respect worldwide.

    Car makers have been good, but in general, most companies feel that security has no ROI, so don't do much than lip service, and coupled with all the crap that can take over a vehicle's ECM [1], it can be concerning.

    [1]: I was reading about a "tattle" device by one insurance company which apparently something over the OBD 2 connector, so if the device was removed, the vehicle wouldn't start. Is this real? Doubtful, but it is concerning.

  • $5 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by sehlat ( 180760 ) on Friday May 30, 2014 @03:45PM (#47131401)

    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?

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"