[YesAuto Design Decode] After more than a hundred years of development, the shape of the car has undergone earth-shaking changes. Although the responsibilities of some of the parts have not changed, due to the evolution of technology, there is a big difference in shape. The most direct tool for direction control-the steering wheel is one of them.
Perhaps you think that the steering wheel is to change the direction of the vehicle, adjust the volume at most, and set the cruise, but in fact, this is the evidence that it has been continuously given a new mission with the continuous advancement of technology. This is by no means as simple as changing the material or adding a few buttons.
In principle, the power steering system uses various power sources to amplify the force exerted by the driver on the steering wheel to better control the vehicle. This power source has gradually changed from mechanical hydraulic pressure to electronic hydraulic pressure, as well as pure electric power assisted on a large scale today.
The so-called optimal adjustment is to make the driver unaware of the delay between the action applied to the steering wheel and the actual wheel swing. This interval of only a few milliseconds delay is the goal of the engineers' hard work day and night.
Of course, engineers will also give vehicles different tuning logic for different models. It is not difficult to imagine that the calibration of the compact Audi A3 and the legendary supercar Audi R8, and even the final steering feel, must be hugely different. In addition, the development team also needs to develop steering feel for different driving modes such as dynamics and comfort on each vehicle.
Just being able to control is not enough. The higher goal is to allow users to operate more comfortably. The Audi development team’s years of development experience believes that a steering wheel with a diameter of 375mm is the most suitable, especially in the new era. Capacitor control buttons will be arranged on it, and size control is required. More precise.
After entering the 1990s, automobile electrification technology continued to develop, and driving assistance functions continued to be added to automobiles. The steering wheel, the component that the driver has the most contact with, is given the responsibility of controlling the relevant configuration.
Today, Audi’s latest generation steering wheel consists of a die-cast frame, which is much lighter than a steel structure, and has other advantages in terms of strength, damping characteristics and castability.
In addition to basic lane changes, steering and parking, the steering wheel is increasingly becoming a communication device, or it is not too much to describe it as a vehicle command center. Of course, with the evolution of technology, more and more advanced driver assistance systems enter the car, and the shape of the steering wheel will be further changed.
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Even if the overall shape of the steering wheel today is still similar to a disc, whether it is size control, angular layout, filling materials, and internal additional sensors make it the core of the vehicle control. With the increasing number of driver assistance systems and multimedia systems today, it also carries more functions “unrelated to steering”. I don't know which car has the most unique steering wheel in your impression.