It is the era of the unimaginable. Cars that drive on their own, collapsible cars and now cars that might not have a steering wheel and pedals.
Ford had filed a patent in August 2016 and it was awarded to the automaker on August 10th 2017. According to the patent, Ford will make a car with removable steering wheel and pedals. The document notes that it is not a perfect solution. Designers will have to consider about the placement of airbags, which are normally situated in the steering wheel. The patent puts forth one airbag in the wheel and the dashboard behind it and the latter is switched off electronically when the steering wheel column is locked in.
The redesign would require a number of structural changes as a steering wheel is an integral past of the frame of a car. It will not be as simple as the steering wheel popping in and out.
Nevertheless, this is only a patent. But it goes to show that automakers are moving towards concepts that ditch control system elements entirely ( wheels, gear shifts, pedals). It is a step closer towards the fully automated vehicles.
The patent also proves that car makers are mulling over steering and control compromises that will help them sell self-driving cars in countries tries that have different legal specifications.
You could now just take the steering wheel off from time to time in your car!!!