Variable Steering Ratio
This is the first time that the driver notices, that the control over the steering wheel has been taken from him. A control device now decides, whether the steering wheel movement is transferred directly to the front wheels or whether a weakened- or a strengthened movement is carried out. In this case e.g., a greater steering ratio during fast motorway driving and also a smaller ratio when driving slowly in urban areas, would be possible. This construction could of course, also be used for every possible steering action e.g., with ESP. A vehicle may one day appear, which is artificially kept on the road, even if the driver is distracted. It can also no longer be predicted, with any certainty, whether in ten years time, all cars will even still have a steering wheel, or whether the systen will be re-constructed, because more than a three-quarters of a turn will never be necessary any more.
The above shown system is combined with hydraulic power-steering. For the future, it's possible, and more than likely, that there will be a purely electric steering support. In front of the pinion that engages with the gear rack, there will be a planet gearbox built into the steering column. In addition, the ring-gear which has somewhat sloping outside teeth, into which an electric motor engages, similar to a worm-drive. If its movement is precisely combined with that of the steering wheel, it can strengthen the steering angle for a more direct steering or weaken it for a more indirect steering. All it has to do is to turn the ring-gear in one direction or the other. The planetary gearbox is a perfectly normal part the steering ratio. In the event of a malfunction, the electric motor stands still and provides for an average ratio. Through the worm-drive and thus, the self-braking, it cannot be moved.
In 2006, the first vehicle with independent reverse parking was introduced. The display indicates whether or not the parking slot is big enough. After engaging the reverse gear, the vehicle steers itself into the optimum position in one action. The driver only needs to regulate the driving speed. 08/12
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