News: Ford Adaptive Steering

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Adaptive steering debuts on the Ford Edge, but it has performance potential

By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company

We know the road-racing gurus search for just the right steering rack ratio to sharpen the steering and enhance lap times. Sometimes, however, the right ratio for the track isn’t the right ratio for maneuvering in a parking lot. Well, Ford is debuting a best-of-both-worlds technology on the 2016 Ford Edge that has potential to make its way into the Ford Performance vehicles we love.

Developed in conjunction with German supplier TKAG, the Adaptive Steering debuting on the 2016 Ford Edge Sport and Titanium is said to continually change the steering ratio based on vehicle speed to optimize the steering for the conditions.
Developed in conjunction with German supplier TKAG, the Adaptive Steering debuting on the 2016 Ford Edge Sport and Titanium is said to continually change the steering ratio based on vehicle speed to optimize the steering for the conditions.

“First and foremost, all Ford Motor Company products have to offer a great driving experience,” Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development, said. “This new steering technology can help make vehicles easy to maneuver and fun to drive.”

Standard on the ’16 Edge Sport and optional on the Edge Titanium—and available on the Ford S-MAX and Galaxy in Europe—is a new feature called Adaptive Steering. This system actually changes the ratio between the turn of the steering wheel to the turn of the front wheels based on vehicle speed. So, when you are in a low-speed situation like a parking lot, your ride requires fewer turns of the steering wheel but turns the front wheels more to make the car more maneuverable.

What makes the system exciting is that its inner workings—an electric motor and gearing system—are housed within the steering wheel, which makes it easily added to other Fords. This actuator adds or subtracts fro the driver’s input to improved the steering response based on vehicle speed.
What makes the system exciting is that its inner workings—an electric motor and gearing system—are housed within the steering wheel, which makes it easily added to other Fords. This actuator adds or subtracts from the driver’s input to improved the steering response based on vehicle speed.

At speed, the system is said to optimize the steering response for a smoother reaction to steering inputs. So, there is obviously a lot of potential for this system to become part of the tuned driving modes—like Track and Sport—on performance Fords, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. For now, it’s a nice enhancement on the Edge

Of course, because the system, which was developed with German automotive supplier TKAG, is housed completely within the steering wheel, so it is easily deployed to other vehicles.

For a primer on how it works, you can watch this vid…

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