Ford is offering adaptive steering on the Ford F-Series Super Duty pickup and Ford Edge SUV. Ford has been awarded eight patents, with 11 more filed, on the technology which has been offered in select vehicles for several years. (Earlier post.)
Despite the industry shift to electrically assisted steering, an overwhelming majority of new vehicles sold today have fixed steering gear ratios. Fixed steering ratios are always a compromise between providing steering quickness and maneuverability at low speeds, while offering comfortable vehicle response at high speeds.
Class-exclusive adaptive steering for the all-new Super Duty and Edge removes these compromises and reduces driver fatigue—especially at low speeds.
The system—all contained in the steering wheel itself—has an electric motor, a small computer and a gear unit. Based on driver input and vehicle speed, adaptive steering can add or subtract rotations to driver input at the steering wheel. Up to one full revolution can be saved at low speeds when steering lock-to-lock.
At low speeds, the system increases the angle of the front wheels as the steering wheel is turned—resulting in the driver needing to steer less to maneuver, explains Lodewijk Wijffels, Ford adaptive steering technical specialist.
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, he said.
Adaptive steering contributes to delivering the best ride and steering of any Super Duty ever, with improved responsiveness and control. The truck features a specific setting for engaging tow/haul mode that further optimizes how Super Duty and trailer react to steering input.
Adaptive steering made its debut on the 2016 Ford Edge Sport, which has driver-selectable normal and sport settings. Adaptive steering is optional on the 2016 Ford Edge Titanium.