Automobiles keep getting more and more advanced, with computers playing an ever-increasingly vital role in their operation. But some things remain the same. Despite more advanced (if not necessarily better) technologies available, we still burn fossils to fuel our engines, we still check what's behind us in actual mirrors and (with few exceptions) we still turn a steering wheel mechanically connected to the front wheels to change directions. But that doesn't mean automakers aren't working at new solutions.

We've sampled electric steering systems developed by Japanese automakers like Honda and Infiniti that disconnect the front wheels from the steering column, but while those systems may be the way of the future, they leave the driver feeling physically disconnected from the road. Ferrari, however, has a different idea.

Instead of either relying completely on a traditional system or replacing it with an entirely digital one, Ferrari appears to have found a sweet spot in the middle. According to a patent filing obtained by Evo, Ferrari is developing a system that still uses a direct mechanical steering linkage, but enhances it through the use of software that corrects for certain inconsistencies.

Those issues which the system seeks to address reportedly include inconsistent amounts of effort required to turn the wheel both at different angles and from left to right – issues which most drivers in most cars would probably never notice but which a focused driving machine like a Ferrari seeks to address. The system is said to be entirely transparent to the driver but would make the steering more linear and consistent without sacrificing the feedback of a traditional, mechanically linked steering rack. Because it likely wouldn't require massive processing power or more robust hardware than the power steering system already installed, it wouldn't add any extra weight, either.

Of course automakers patent technologies all the time and don't necessarily put them in their road cars for one reason or another, but we wouldn't be surprised to see Ferrari fit some sort of system like this to the upcoming new LaFerrari XX rolling test bed for its top clients to try out before considering its installation in its commercially available road cars in the near future.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      RevenantDC5
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'm pretty annoyed that this is written as if electronically assisted powered steering is new. It's common tech at this point, even in entry level cars. If Ferrari is able to patent something, there is likely something innovative about their mechanism or electronics, but the article fails to explain.
      Joe
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'm sure, in their minds at least, Farrari patented some form of innovation, but fixing the steering the feel (linearity, feedback, and rate) with EPAS, as you've described it, is old news and has been done for awhile, BMW being the first that I can recall.
      IBx27
      • 5 Months Ago
      You can't shift for yourself, you can't modulate throttle by yourself, and now you can't even steer for yourself in a 'ferrari.' Sorry Enzo, your company is now pandering to the stupid.
        carguy1701
        • 5 Months Ago
        @IBx27
        >You can't shift for yourself They have manual modes, you know. >you can't modulate throttle by yourself Yeah you can. >and now you can't even steer for yourself in a 'ferrari.' Are you blind? There is still a mechanical connection. It sounds like this just corrects for things like the front wheels being at different levels.
          IBx27
          • 5 Months Ago
          @carguy1701
          Count the pedals.
          carguy1701
          • 5 Months Ago
          @carguy1701
          DUAL CLUTCH TRANSMISSIONS ARE NOT AUTOMATICS!
      m_2012
      • 5 Months Ago
      That would be called electronic assist. Sorry Ferrari, someone forgot to send you the memo.
      jebibudala
      • 5 Months Ago
      Realistically power steering is only needed in slow speed parking lot situations. I believe Honda was one of the first to go into production with an electric assist in the 90's for the NSX. Now it seems to be pretty common on all newer cars. I for one would rather be all manual steering. I'm not old and frail, or a girl.
      carguy1701
      • 5 Months Ago
      Interdasting. "We've sampled electric steering systems developed by Japanese automakers like Honda and Infiniti that disconnect the front wheels from the steering column..." Honda has one? I thought Nissan was the only one.
      protovici
      • 5 Months Ago
      Ferrari, making street race cars for the rich that cant drive and need major assistance to even control such a machine. Though, I see no problem with that!