Livonia-based TRW Develops Steering Wheel for Autonomous Driving

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Livonia-based TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. unveiled a new steering wheel concept, which helps support drivers during semi-automated and automated driving situations. The unique steering wheel, which slides across a dashboard, was installed on a show car for today’s opening of the Geneva Auto Show.

The system, which can be activated by touching transparent switches, opens up new possibilities for drivers, said Guido Hirzmann, group leader for new technology at TRW.

“With the integrated hands on/off sensor and flexible positioning of the wheel, the driver can choose whether to drive the vehicle himself, pass control of the vehicle to the front passenger, or have the vehicle drive itself in automated mode,” Hirzmann said.

One of the key features of the steering wheel is the Drive Mode Manage display, which features an illuminated “A” when the vehicle is in automated mode. If the driver touches the steering wheel, the letter “M” is illuminated, indicating that the driver is ready to take back control of the vehicle (Manuel). If the driver touches “Push to Drive,” control is given back to the driver. Similarly, if the driver later takes his or her hands off the wheel, the vehicle will continue to drive in an automated mode.

“Our … concept redefines the conventional role of the steering wheel as cars evolve and as a result can help to reduce some of the driving tasks and increase comfort,” Hirzmann said. “The technology is part of TRW’s efforts to support the path to automated driving and promote the car of the future.”

The media days for the Geneva Auto Show will be held today and Wednesday at Geneva PalExpo in Switzerland.

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