Future of Power Steering
The future of power steering will be all electric. The power-steering pump on many vehicles today works all the time, pumping fluid constantly, and it wastes horsepower. This wasted power can also be seen as wasting precious fuel.
You can expect to see innovations that will drastically improve fuel efficiency. One of the coolest ideas being considered iin the future of power steering is a “steer-by-wire” or “drive-by-wire” system. These would take out the mechanical link between the steering wheel and the steering, using a purely electronic control system instead. Basically, the steering wheel would operate like the one you buy for your video games or computer. They all contain sensors which tell the vehicle what the driver is doing with the wheel, and most contain some motors in them to give the driver feedback on what the car is doing. The output of these sensors would control the motorized steering system. This would free up more space in the engine area and reduce vibrations by eliminating the steering shaft.
General Motors has a concept car, the Hy-wire, and it features this type of steering system. One of the most exciting parts about this car’s drive-by-wire system is that you can fine-tune the handling without changing anything about the car’s mechanical parts — all that is required to adjust the steering is new computer software. In future drive-by-wire cars, you can probably configure your controls exactly to your liking with just a few buttons, in the same way we’ve modernized adjusting your seat position.
In the past fifty years, steering systems haven’t evolved too much. But in the next ten years or so, we’ll see many advances, which will result in cars that are more comfortable and fuel efficient.
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