Ford Motor Co. officially took the wraps off its electrically-powered adaptive steering system for its 2017 model Super Duty pickup trucks – a technology the OEM introduced on the 2016 Ford Edge Sport SUV.
Ford said it’s been awarded eight patents, with 11 more filed, for its adaptive steering package; a system that electronically increases or decreases steering gear ratios by 30% to boost highway steering “comfort” as well as improve low-speed maneuverability.
Lodewijk Wijffels, Ford’s adaptive steering technical specialist, noted in a statement that this technology package – all contained within the steering wheel itself – combines together an electric motor, a small computer and a gear unit.
Based on driver input and vehicle speed, the adaptive system can add or subtract rotations at the steering wheel, with up to one full revolution saved at low speeds when steering lock-to-lock, he explained.
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, Wijffels said.
“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 added.
Adaptive steering contributes to delivering the best ride and steering of any Super Duty ever, with improved responsiveness and control.
Ford noted that its adaptive steering package is “class-exclusive” adaptive steering for 2017 model Super Duty and Edge SUV, with the Super Duty featuring a specific setting for when in tow/haul mode to further “optimize” how the truck and trailer react to steering inputs.
The OEM noted that adaptive steering is optional on the 2016 Ford Edge Titanium trim level.