Dedicated to the international day of the motorist

Since the inception of the car (Karl Benz built his first car in 1885.) it took over a hundred years. For a relatively long period, the car has undergone various changes, there is an entire sector of the automotive industry. The machine quickly came into our life and today many people can not imagine myself without this thing. Every year there are new and new models of vehicles, but still the question of how it will look car or personal vehicle in the future remains open.

A huge number of print, electronic and video already created on the topic of cars. However, it is very rare to find information (very superficial) about the features of the machine control. As many of us are drivers and cars often appreciate the driving pleasure, the following information will be especially interesting. This article conducted a small study said about one very important control of the vehicle as the steering wheel. We propose to trace the history of its evolution from the point of view of design. To consider original and unusual in form, concept instances of the steering wheel, current trends and advanced technologies in its design, and learn how to change the situation in the matter of driving the car in the last time. After all, the design leaves one of the first, strong, memorable impressions about the car.

It all began with the Benz Patent. This device is controlled by a twist grip or tiller. To turn off the car the driver just needed to turn the handle either to the right or to the left, similar to how we do it, driving an ordinary motor boat. Then nobody thought about how it should be controlled by the car. But as history has shown, the control knob will be back in automotive, but in a different form.

The first car with a steering wheel was a Panhard 4hp. 1894. Alfred Vacheron. The installation of this kind of rudder construction was required the race, as the wheel was more efficient for maneuvering than an ordinary pen. In subsequent to the wheel was attached on top of the tiller (even today can be found in automobiles, mainly trucks such option) for easier scrolling. This implies that the transition from the handle was very evolutionary solution approbated in practice.

After the appearance of the first cars, the steering wheel began to acquire the form and the position which we now seem familiar. The wheel was placed at an angle to the left. Car appeared the steering column, to which was attached on one, two, three, four or more spokes of the torus-shaped ring, which held the driver while operating the vehicle. In the subsequent the steering wheel has acquired all sorts of options such as tilt control, horn, paddle switches, airbag, hydraulic and electric steering. In many ways, the development of the design of the steering wheel owes the introduction of new automotive technologies and materials, design principles and production. So, in 30 years of the last century it was impossible to make a wheel with a complex, mathematically precise terrain, with all kinds of intersections or smooth transitions of the surfaces that is being done in a few days to five or six axis CNC machine. Operational prototyping and three-dimensional simulations have now become an integral part of the design activities in the automotive industry. If you had to draw on the drawing boards, today do on computers is for anybody not a secret, and the techniques by quite different. Even conventional molding processes known in the early XX century. do not allow items that we have seen in the last autoconcepto.

Practical experience brought about changes in the position and by 1910, most American cars were manufactured with left hand steering.

The design of the helm means the connection to the steering column. Before it was hard and unsafe for the driver, as was the risk of getting a severe injury during an accident. In 1934 appeared the first energy-absorbing steering column, which was introduced only in 1959.

The first steering wheels usually had four spokes, but because of the high level of vibrations had to make engineering changes. So there were steering wheels Banjo, reminiscent of the 4-string musical instrument. At the helm of each needle consisted of 4 thin, which repaid the vibration from the road.

Adjustable steering wheel was invented by Edward Lobello in 1927, but only in 1963. firm «Cadillac» was the first to introduce this new product. The peculiarity of the options lies in the fact that the steering column is rigidly fixed, and the position of the steering wheel freely regulated with the help of ratchet. Most American cars have a similar adjustment system, which survived until our days.

In 1955 for «Ford Thunderbird» for easy entry appears telescopic adjustable steering wheel, which allows you to change the depth of the steering wheel in the range of 8 cm From 1961 there is a new option for the wheel, the wheel when switched to the automatic transmission mode, the Parking, it was possible to push the right steering column for greater convenience when boarding-disembarking of the driver. The option became so popular that in 1962 she was included in the basic package «Ford Thunderbird».

The company «Cadillac» decided to be different: since 1965, the cars were equipped with steering wheels with a telescopic adjustment function and the slope changes.

In 1968, was amended in the law on security, and now it was impossible to use a hinged steering columns, so that «Ford» has used its innovation in just 6 years. The specialists of «Ford» tried to modify a similar system, but after another tightening of the rules, they are completely abandoned.

In 1970 appeared the first anti-theft system: when removing the ignition key blocked the wheel.

In those 50−60 years of the appears and the steering column, which can be adjusted in depth and tilt, basically this option is set on European cars.

In 1910, appears the electric horn, which was invented by Oliver Lucas. Later, the horn button was moved to a separate ring (not to take your hands off the wheel), and 60 years later invented the «Rim Blow», a feature of which was that the signal was triggered from any contact with the spokes of the steering wheel.

In 1972 appeared the first airbag in the steering wheel, for «Oldsmobile toronado».

It is interesting to consider the steering of a racing car. Most often in their form they resemble a game console, because the driver at high speed it is necessary to control the process, as they say without taking your hands off the steering wheel. Such rudders are smaller than the usual at least two times, Respectively, the engineers try to make all the important switches, toggle switches and buttons on the steering wheel. Look at formula 1 and you will see it for yourself.

Buttons autopilot on the rudder appears in the 60s of the last century. In the 1990s, there are the buttons, which are responsible for adjustment of the audio system, onboard computer, phone, etc.

And what form were purchased the wheel. This is a must see. Ranging from simple round «donut» similar to the helm of the ship, ending, absolutely fantastic, crazy shapes of space ships from futuristic movies. Others look on and think, how such a thing could come up with? The most striking developments in terms of non-standard shaped handlebar Asians, in second place are the French, but rational and restrained Germans have something to show.

It would seem, what for such experiments with the form of steering, sometimes, not always functional, because the usual wheel average inhabitant of the planet feels quite comfortable. This is the explanation. Attracting the attention of potential buyers to the brand, demonstrate new solutions in design and ergonomics, setting fashion trends in the world automotive industry.

Lately in the world of design became popular cars with Autonomous control, i.e. the machine where the responsibility of driving is shifted to electronics. While this is only experiments. Offline function allows a person to do during the trip a variety of things: from business meetings, negotiations, working at a laptop, before bedtime. It is very important for big cities with traffic congestion and long distances to the destination. In fact, the robots will displace taxi, also used in military and other fields where a very high risk to human life.

However, the only area where real cars robots will not be able to participate this race, because it defeats the purpose of the sports component of the event, no sport, since it is possible to foresee the outcome of a race, analyzing the technical characteristics that I. Although there are such examples (race on the works of the DARPA Grand Challenge 2004).

Found in many concepts and is, when a person operates the machine, setting the route via your smartphone. Typically, in such vehicles the steering control is missing or duplicated.

There are already pilot projects, such as Google self driving car 2014 concept IDEO self driving car 2015 the concept Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion, 2015, in addition to the autopilot has built-in «flip» of information on larger monitors, the national experimental car US on the basis of LADA Kalina 2014.

It should also be noted that with the development of control systems is changing not only the wheel, but all the space surrounding the driver. So, instead of dial indicators speedometer and tachometer today all parameters are displayed on digital displays, buttons and switches are replaced with touch panels, touchpads, the form of the dashboard is different. She doesn’t look «face to face» at the driver, as it dissolves in the cabin, flattens, becomes less massive example (the Audi A2 concept 2011 BMW i3 2012). This is the style of our time, when things like «dematerialized», transformed into a different form. To understand this is to look at the evolution of the phone.

Someone can tell, and who will be responsible in the case of unexpected accidents involving robot cars. The question remains open. Apparently yet another person. And if they say no electronics? How then to manage? Whether the fallback option is self-driving? Engineers and designers have something to think about. Most likely, in the future people are so «lazy» that will move the robots. It is possible that soon we are waiting for a completely different mode of transport and without the helm. Cars — drones? Who knows? Let’s wait and see.

In the preparation of this article were used materials of the following Internet resources: 489.html

Image captions

Panhard Levassor 4HP 1897. Extremely simple design. In this model, the wheel is perfectly vertical, is fastened by spokes to a conventional rod.

Hyundai i Flow concept 2011. With the steering wheel you feel yourself really like Bruce Willis from «Fifth element».

Subaru ХT 1985. To make a gun from the wheel? Yes, easily. For the Japanese it was no problem.

Hyundai BLUE-WILL concept 2010. Look at that steering wheel, it wants to pull itself and soar into the clouds.

Toyota fv2 concept 2013. There’s no steering wheel. The Japanese decided to drive through the movements of the body, i.e. car and driver, like are one. The emotional connection of the vehicle with the man technology provided by the Toyota Heart Project, which determines the driver’s mood by his voice and facial expression. In addition, for safety of movement is provided on the concept of system of information exchange with other car.

Honda Micro Commuter Concept 2011. The idea with the joystick is popular again. Some management functions are integrated into the phone, which is installed on the dashboard.

Maserati Boomerang concept 1972. Not really an ergonomic solution in terms of placement on the handlebar instruments and other buttons, but as a concept worthy of attention. Designer Giorgetto Giugiaro.

Citroen Hypnos concept 2008. Handlebar-shaped horns, was particularly popular in that year.

Citroen DS 19 1957. In the middle of the last century, this wheel looked innovative, and especially on the production car. Here is the gear shifter.

Ford Interceptor concept 2007. Rectangular steering wheel from Ford.

Pontiac Pursuit Concept 1987. Game console and not the steering wheel.

Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion 2015. Want to steer, want to stay here and rest, the machine will do everything itself.