Nexteer developing steering for self driving cars


As automakers race to build the cars and trucks of tomorrow, Michigan continues to lead the way.

Some of the technology that will be driving us into the future is under development in Mid-Michigan.

Steering manufacturers, like Nexteer Automotive, are closer than ever to making self driving cars a reality.

"What we strive for is intuitive motion control. So that's our goal, is to make these things really easy and shouldn't require a lot of training," said Jeff Zuraski, executive director of research and development for Nexteer.

He is a firm believer in the future of autonomous vehicles and said it all comes from the development of electric power steering.

"There's a whole rang or electric power steering systems. The ones you put on a small car might look different that what you would put on a full size truck. We make all versions and we're going after all parts of market," Zuraski said.

In Zuraski's opinion, what makes self driving cars appealing in today's society is the extra space and convenience.

"For autonomous driving we're looking at different configurations. So imagine you're riding in an autonomous car, but it still has a steering wheel. That can now be stowed away so there's more room to do other things. And because they're decoupled, the steering wheel doesn't have to move while you're going around corners and whatever. It can just stay stationary," Zuraski said.

Even though autonomous vehicles can drive themselves, Nexteer Automotive is developing steering technology for drivers to take over if necessary.

"If any single thing fails it needs to keep working. You can also take back control, grab the wheel, pull it out and take over driving again. And we call this on demand steering and that way it's safe," Zuraski said.

Nexteer said there is no specific timeline for when this technology will be available to the public.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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