The Fall and Rise of Steering Feedback on Slippery Roads
When the front wheels start to lose grip, the torque in the steering wheel suddenly drops. It is a very clear and early indicator to the driver that friction levels are limited, and also an extremely useful piece of safety feedback. It originates from the receding pneumatic trail on the tyre contact patch, and the effect propagates through the suspension and steering linkage all the way up to the driver. It is very elegant.
Cars have certainly evolved over the years, but has this feedback been sacrificed along the way?
My first car was a 1964 Volvo 544 Sport that had very clear feedback – just as most cars did before power steering was widely adopted. With power steering, some feedback was traded for effortless turning. Fair enough. Who, after all, would buy a car without assisted steering today? Except for the rare Alfa Romeo 4C, perhaps. Electric power steering came with higher efficiency and a load of features, but slippery road feedback became even worse.
The good news is that the feedback wasn’t lost forever
We found it! With Sentient’s Blueprint Steering concept, we offer Limit Handling Feedback where the feedback for understeer, as well as oversteer, is not only back, it’s also tuneable.
This two-minute video shows how Limit Handling Feedback works in the BMW 5-series.
Note: Limit Handling Feedback is integrated in S+ Blueprint Steering.