Ford will offer next spring a steering system allows drivers to easily maneuver in parking lots. A driver typically needs to turn the steering wheel by around three revolutions to back into a parking space. But with the Ford Adaptive Steering, doing such action would take around two revolutions.
The Ford Adaptive Steering, developed with Takata Corp., was unveiled to journalists in May. While Ford didn’t divulge on which models the system will be fitted, it was installed on the Edge Concept in the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.
This means that the system may likely be offered first on the next-generation Edge, which production version is due next spring. In conventional steering system, a long metal shaft links the steering wheel to the rack and pinion between the front wheels.
In Ford Adaptive Steering system, the steering wheel activates an electric motor that turns a gear on the steering shaft. The motor and gear then turn the wheels with fewer revolutions of the steering wheel at low speeds.
The Ford Adaptive Steering also benefits turning while at highway speeds, which now requires steering wheel less movement than before.
Jeremy Rawlings, an engineer working on the system, vehicles having longer wheelbases benefit more from Ford Adaptive Steering than small cars. BMW, Lexus, Audi and Infiniti also offer similar systems, although they are packaged differently from Ford's. [source: Ford]