Fixed steering gear ratios are the norm. At low speeds, they tend to be a compromise between maneuverability and steering quickness, which can lead to driver fatigue and frustration.
Ford Motor Company recognized and responded to these limitations, releasing it’s all new adaptive steering technology –removing these traditional performance compromises—for the new F-Series Super Duty pickup models and Ford Edge SUV, with eight patents complete and 11 more in the works. The first Ford vehicles to house this new upgrade were the 2016 Ford Edge Sport and the 2016 Ford Edge Titanium (as an optional add-on).
Contained in the steering wheel, the adaptive system function on an electric motor, gear unit and small computer. It can add or subtract rotations at the steering wheel based upon the speed of the vehicle and the driver’s contributions. At slower speeds, the angle of the front wheels increases with the turn of the steering column, meaning the driver doesn’t have to work as hard.
“At high speeds, the ratio is changed in such a way that vehicle response is more relaxed, more precise and smoother than without the system,” says Lodewijk Wijffels, adaptive steering technical specialist at Ford.