Is this gesture-controlled steering wheel genius or madness?

gesture-controlled steering wheel with touch screen
ZF
It might take a decade or so, but it’s starting to look like self-driving cars are the way of the future. But before we get there, how do you feel about a gesture-controlled steering wheel? It might sound strange, but ZF believes that it has the potential to make cars safer and easier to use.

At first glance, the concept of putting a touchscreen on a steering wheel might seem strange, if not crazy — but it isn’t meant for current cars. Rather, ZF hopes that it will make self-driving cars easier to control. For the foreseeable future, even the most advanced self-driving cars will need a way for human drivers to take control, so we aren’t getting rid of steering wheels anytime soon. However, those cars will also need a way for users to input directions, set destinations, and other tasks. A touchscreen is a natural fit for that sort of thing, given that we already use them on devices every day.

The embedded touchscreen does present its own unique challenges, however. One of the most pressing is the fact that in modern cars, the airbags are stored inside the steering wheel. As a potential workaround, ZF found a way to store the airbag in the rear-rim of the steering wheel. In the event of an accident, the airbag will wrap around the wheel, protecting the driver’s face from the touchscreen.

Juergen Krebs, VP of engineering for ZF, believes that the company’s touchscreen steering wheel may very well be the future of how we interact with our cars.

“ZF’s advanced steering wheel concept represents an important step in the evolution of automated driving while helping to enhance safety and driver awareness,” Krebs said in a statement. “As we prepare for Level 3 automated functions, the hand-over of control between vehicle and driver using highly accurate feedback will be critical. We believe our new concept is the most intuitive and provides the clearest feedback to the driver.”

Those hoping to get a better look at ZF’s futuristic steering wheel can see it for themselves next month at the company’s CES booth in Las Vegas.

Product Review

No longer the underdog, the Audi Q3 is all grown up and ready to dominate

The Audi Q3 is back for a second generation and it’s better than ever before. It looks sharper, it packs more power, and it offers a longer list of tech features. We put it to the test to find out how it fares against the competition.
Gaming

Find all Fortnite's puzzle pieces in our week 10 challenge guide

The Fortnite 'search for jigsaw puzzle pieces in basements' is one of the hardest challenges in the week 10 challenges this week. We go over how and where to find these puzzle pieces, and how to get all seven of them in total.
Emerging Tech

These flying cars want to take your commute to new heights

The future is closer than you'd think: Companies around the world are working on flying car models, with many successful tests! Here are all the flying cars and taxis currently in development, and how they work!
Emerging Tech

How do 3D printers work? Here’s a super-simple breakdown

How do 3D printers work, exactly? If you ever wondered how these magical machines create 3D objects in a matter of hours, then look no further than this dead-simple breakdown of the four most common printing technologies.
Cars

Stop the madness! Here's how to fix those squeaky brakes

Few noises are worse than the sound of squeaky brakes. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to go about fixing the issue without giving up your weekend or investing a small fortune. Here's what you need to know.
Cars

Get your camera out: Mercedes-AMG Project One supercar tests on public roads

The Mercedes-AMG Project One is a hybrid supercar incorporating genuine Formula One racing DNA. The $2.7 million Project One is entering its final stage of development, including public-road testing.
Cars

At Bonneville, a 210-mph Volkswagen Jetta is nothing unusual

The Bonneville Salt Flats are the ultimate temple of speed. Follow along as Volkswagen attempts to set a record with a modified economy car, and see what makes Bonneville so special.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Click-to-brew beer, comfy headlamps, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

Lamborghini’s V12 flagship brings the shock and awe for SVJ duty

High-tech active aerodynamics, trick steering, and good old-fashioned horsepower help to make this Aventador the most track-capable production Lamborghini ever.
Cars

Porsche brings diesel car production to a screeching halt

Porsche has announced that it will no longer be making diesel cars. The German automaker said that, as a sports car brand, diesel fuels simply weren't as important a part of their business as other options.
Product Review

There’s a new baby Benz on the block: A-Class proves sedans aren’t dead yet

While it seems like the traditional sedan is dead, Mercedes-Benz believes otherwise. And the 2019 A-Class sedan arrives to try and capture younger buyers and sway them from competitors. We explore Seattle in one to see if it’s any good.
Cars

Will Toyota finally cave to buyer demand and offer Android Auto?

For years, Toyota refused to offer Android Auto for privacy and security reasons. That could change soon; a recent report claims Toyota will begin offering Android Auto compatibility in at least some of its models.
Product Review

FenSens Smart Parking Sensor improves your ride with no strings, or wires, attached

Instead of relying on an old-fashioned mirror, it may be time to step up to a parking sensor. We test the latest FenSens Smart Wireless Parking Sensor to see if this device, with your smartphone, can replicate the latest OEM system.
Cars

Check out the tuned, resto-modded, and high-tech GTIs at Volkswagen’s home show

About 4,000 cars attended the GTI Coming Home event in Wolfsburg, Germany, and we couldn't find two identical cars. Our favorite car at the event blended 1980s style with 21st century tech features.