Assisted & AD Enablers, New Mobility February 17, 2021

Stowable Steering Columns Redefine Drivers’ “Behind-the-Wheel” Experience

Technology is not only changing the way we drive, but how drivers use their vehicles. From infotainment systems to advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) and even over-the-air software updates, the experience of driving and owning a vehicle has changed a great deal in recent years.

Nexteer’s Stowable Steering Column innovation will take a driver’s “behind-the-wheel” experience to a whole, new level.  Our technology enables the steering wheel to retract into the dashboard when hands-off, automated driving is engaged. It can also be used in traditional vehicles when the vehicle is not in motion – increasing available space for driver comfort and other activities.

Stowable Columns for Automated Driving

Our Stowable Steering Column is part of our Advanced Steering Technology Suite that enables a new era of safety and performance for today’s world and an increasingly automated future. These technologies, which include Steer-by-Wire (SbW), Steering on Demand™ systems and Quiet Wheel™ Steering, deliver motion control solutions across SAE ADAS Levels 2 – 5.

During automated driving (when the driver’s attention is not required), our Stowable Steering Column creates additional space for the driver to engage in other activities – whether that’s reading a book, checking their laptop or eating lunch.

A New Use for Vehicles – In Park

In addition to getting you from Point A to Point B, vehicles can also provide consumers with a quiet escape or additional living space – especially in today’s world where many people are working and living in the same space. For example, Nexteer’s stowable columns can extend a vehicle owner’s living space by expanding usable space in the vehicle cabin. The vehicle owner can use this extra space for a variety of needs – whether that’s to expand their office-on-wheels or to turn the vehicle into a peaceful retreat with ample space to rest and relax.

Our Stowable Steering Columns enable OEMs to re-purpose and re-invent the vehicle environment. Nexteer will be the first in the automotive industry to mass produce a stowable steering column when the technology launches with a major OEM in early 2020s.

This upcoming launch of Nexteer’s stowable steering column will join the more than 100 million columns we have supplied to OEM customers around the world.  From our Stowable Steering Columns to adaptive energy absorption and many other steering column technologies, Nexteer relentlessly innovates to enhance driver safety, comfort and convenience.

Rick Nash
Rick Nash is global product line executive director and chief engineer for Nexteer’s Steering Columns and Intermediate Shafts (CIS) business.