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Ford details 'Adaptive Steering' tech with variable ratio

System changes steering ratio based on vehicle speed.

Ford has detailed its next-generation "Adaptive Steering" technology that will begin arriving on vehicles in the near future.

The company promises the new steering system will deliver easier maneuverability in tight spaces, while maintaining agility and feedback at higher speeds.

Rather than managing the steering complexities at the rack and pinion, the Adaptive Steering approach adds another gear system within the steering wheel itself. The additional actuator essentially changes the steering ration on the fly, adding to or subtracting from the driver's steering input.

"At lower speeds, such as when pulling into a parking space or maneuvering in tight quarters, the new system makes the vehicle more agile and easier to turn, as it dials more steering into the road wheel," Ford explains. "At highway speeds, the system further optimizes steering response, enabling the vehicle to react more smoothly and precisely to driver input."

The company already offers selectable steering modes for some models, including the Focus and the Mustang, though the current system merely changes the resistance rather than the steering ratio. It is unclear if the Adaptive Steering system will be integrated with the same settings, providing both a heavier feel and lower ratio in the 'sport' mode.

Ford expects the new steering technology to be available within the next 12 months.

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