General Motors has patented an adaptive steering wheel. It can change the shape, thickness, texture and even the location of the thumb rests.
So far, the technology is described only in general terms, but the possibilities it opens up look interesting. For example, by changing the shape and texture of the steering wheel, you can adjust it to a specific driver or driving conditions. This is realized in a relatively simple way – with the help of a system of pneumatic chambers. They are planned to be built into the rim and braid material.
According to the plan, the driver will have access to several preset profiles. It is proposed to activate certain settings manually or automatically: with a key fob, using Face ID, based on data on heart rate, temperature and stress level. For example, in the rain, the texture of the steering wheel can be made rougher to increase friction and improve grip, and on the track the rim can «thicken».
In addition, the technology will solve another problem – it will make the steering wheel truly universal, suitable for palms of any size. However, it is currently unknown when such systems will appear on production cars. General Motors does not disclose the terms, and it is unlikely that they are outlined somewhere.