The self-driving cars are rising, giving designers the freedom to draw sophisticated stylings. Of course, all semi-autonomous cars on the street today are built based on ordinary cars, one example is the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans that come with Waymo‘s advanced technology. However, the next generation of such cars that can transport passengers autonomously are expected to have a far more attractive design. They will also have many sensors, cameras, and screens. There won’t be steering wheels, though. Not anymore.
Earlier this year, General Motors introduced an autonomous vehicle without a steering wheel. Seats and simple dash were the only things found on the interior, implying what passengers may see in the future. While GM’s car would count on sensors and computers to drive it around, Ford’s latest patent revealed that the American carmaker could one day make driving as good as playing a game.
If you’re familiar with mobile car games, the name of Ford’s patent recently issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office may not sound strange to you, it’s called “Non-Autonomous Steering Modes”. First discovered by CarBuzz, the patent refers to the modes the company plans to offer in the future, one of which allows Ford owners to actually steer their cars by using smartphones or tablets.
The car will request a passenger inside it to act as a driver. To communicate with the vehicle, a touchscreen device is required. When the passenger responds to the request, both the car and the mobile device will start to sync up, enabling the “First Autonomous Steering Mode.” This mode ensures that the vehicle’s wheels are pointing straight ahead and mark the device’s current orientation. It utilizes the device’s accelerometer and gyroscope sensors to control the front wheels’ movement by tilting the smartphone.
If owners want to try something else, a “Second Autonomous Steering Mode” will also be offered. It syncs up the car’s front wheels and the device’s virtual steering wheel to convert any input into an actual wheel movement and control.
On certain roads, autonomous mode might give some consumers uncomfortable feeling as the car is driving on itself without human control. It could trigger anxiety for some, given the fact that accidents involving self-driving cars have risen. Ford has considered this and will give consumers the ability to take over control if it makes them feel more comfortable.
Any mobile device will be compatible with this futuristic driving system, as long as it has a touchscreen display, processor, accelerometer and gyroscope. In its early stages, the technology already implies Ford’s concern for the future. The company wants to stay ahead of the competition by developing advanced features that will provide distinctive driving comfort.