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Your first look at the dashboard of tomorrow

TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., a global leader in active and passive safety, has just revealed their design for a conceptual folding steering wheel that retracts into the dash, making driver and passenger egress and ingress much easier. Featuring two retractable handles that close fully, the steering wheel then folds away into the dashboard.
Posted: June 30, 2011 - 8:18PM
Author: Don Bain

"The automotive industry is being influenced by some key factors such as a more active older population and the growth of mega cities,” said Manuel Poyant, development manager for Steering Wheel Systems and Driver Airbags. “As a result, vehicle manufacturers and suppliers need to find innovative solutions to improve driver accessibility and interior styling for smaller cars – A and B platform as well as electric cars. The foldable steering wheel concept is a prime example of technology that allows easier access for elderly people and those faced with mobility challenges.”

The futuristic design of the retractable steering wheel was developed following an internal study for future steering wheel requirements. The retractable steering wheel significantly improves driver comfort and accessibility. When the vehicle is started, the steering wheel extends into driving position and can be programmed, then saved by the driver to their preference.

"This technology could offer tangible, practical benefits in addition to the styling freedom it provides,” Poyant added. “Due to the significant growth of small city cars, this technology could open up the possibility for even smaller cabin designs. Our customers have shown interest in the concept and the introduction of this technology could be possible within the next 5 years."

About TRW

With sales of $14.4 billion last year, TRW Automotive is on of the world's leading automotive suppliers. Headquartered in Livonia, MI, USA, TRW and its subsidiaries operates in 26 countries, employing over 60,000 people worldwide. Their product line includes integrated vehicle control and driver assist systems, braking systems, steering systems, suspension systems, seat belts and airbags, electronics, engine components, fastening systems and aftermarket replacement parts and services.