Design & Technology
Look, no hands! The future of steering wheels May 4th, 2017
Steering wheels are now smarter than ever before. As automobile manufacturers seek to make driving more comfortable and effortless, they are envisioning cars that require less effort on the driver’s part.
Current day vehicles feature steering wheels that adjust automatically to suit drivers of varying physical statures, optimizing the level of comfort and control. Some steering wheels are even capable of incredible functions such as detecting altered mental states brought on by sleep deprivation or alcohol consumption to prevent dangerous situations on the road.
However, as vehicles continue to grow more sophisticated and as brands move towards a future with minimal driver involvement, steering wheels may eventually become unnecessary relics.
The advent of autonomous or self-driving cars has us swimming in an ocean of imagination and expectation. With rapid advancements in of autonomous technology, many aspects of the driving experience are heading for big changes.
In the future, fully autonomous cars will be able to control and handle all aspects of driving through precise vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication and sensor monitoring. As a result, vehicles will no longer have to rely on human occupants, rendering all mechanisms for human control – steering wheels and even brakes and accelerators – completely obsolete. After all, why would such devices be needed if vehicles can take full control?
At this point in time, the elimination of steering wheels is a hot topic of contention. The majority of current day drivers say that they are not fully comfortable with a steering wheel-less driving system and have lingering doubts about certain self-driving features. However, others reason that the steering wheel-less feature will be the only safe option for a self-driving car as it may be even more dangerous for a driver who hasn’t been paying attention to the road to suddenly or rather impulsively grab the steering wheel to override the autonomous system. This debate likely stems from inexperience with driverless cars and only time will tell which option will be the safer choice.
Like many other automobile brands, Kia is preparing itself and its customers for the autonomous future. Kia launched its new autonomous sub-brand DRIVE WiSE just last year with ambitious plans to introduce partially autonomous cars by 2020 and fully driverless vehicles by 2030. In an attempt to familiarize our fans with this new driverless technology, Kia even offered a chance to test drive its newest autonomous vehicle – the Kia Cadenza (also known as K7 in the domestic market) – at the 2017 Seoul Motor Show.
While the presence of steering wheels is somewhat of a dilemma when discussing the topic of autonomous driving, one thing is for certain – the future of autonomous driving is brighter and looming closer than ever before.
Are you seeing a future without steering wheels? Share your opinion with us in the comment box below!