Han Hendriks is the vice president of advanced product development for Johnson Controls, a company that operates in the electronics and interiors side of the automotive industry. He is therefore directly involved in the industry, and thus can make more accurate predictions as to how the changes that are currently sweeping the scene will affect his company and its area of expertise in the future.
The Detroit News questioned Hendriks recently, and revealed his personal belief is that “After 2025, the steering wheel will play a less dominant role in the interior,” commenting that, “With fully autonomous vehicles, you don’t have to be forward looking as a driver, you don’t need to have an instrument panel. Then you can really just think of a car as a box that you enter.”
This puts things into perspective, even more so than the idea of the disappearance of the traditional steering wheel, and we can correlate it not only with the proliferation of autonomous cars, but also that of exterior cameras doing the job of rear-view mirrors and even the driver’s own eyes in some instances.
We also have autonomous parking that has been proven to work (Volvo and Ford lead the way here), as well as talks of semi-autonomous systems bridging the gap between cars you drive and cars that will eventually drive you.
Good thing we made a selection of the best-looking modern steering wheels, just in case this comes true, for posterity’s sake…
By Andrei Nedelea