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Honda Augmented Driving Concept Looks to Reinvent the Steering Wheel

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【Summary】Instead of having traditional driver controls, Honda’s latest concept that will be unveiled at CES 2020 will come with a funky steering wheel that allows drivers to control all aspects of driving.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Dec 29, 2019 7:00 AM PT
Honda Augmented Driving Concept Looks to Reinvent the Steering Wheel

If it's one thing that hasn't progressed all that much since the first automobile came out, it's the steering wheel. The humble component has only had one function since cars were first introduced: to allow drivers to steer the vehicle. 

Some modern features have changed the steering wheel, like driver-assist features and drive-by-wire steering systems like Infiniti's, but none have really revolutionized it. The main aspect of a steering wheel is to allow drivers to change direction.

Reinventing The Wheel

Honda's latest concept, which is called the Augmented Driving Concept, is looking to change that and will be on display at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. While we don't have all of the concept's specifications, Honda has revealed a few of the vehicle's details, the most notable of which is its innovative steering wheel.

The steering wheel in the concept is interactive and capable of handling all of the controls in a regular car. If you want to go faster, all you have to do is physically push the steering wheel away from you. Braking is done by pulling the steering wheel toward you. 

There are no pedals in the vehicle, as the steering wheel handles all of those tasks. Even starting the car requires the driver to pat the steering wheel twice. For a component that hasn't changed in decades, it's pretty cool to see.

Honda claims it put all of this kind of tech into the steering wheel because of the way the concept can seamlessly switch between autonomous models.

"In the autonomous future, Honda believes that customers will be able to enjoy mobility in new ways when freed from the responsibility of driving," said the automaker. "At the same time, customers may still want to experience the emotion and thrill of driving."

More Than Just An Autonomous Car

Speaking of autonomous driving, the concept reportedly has more than eight different self-driving models that range from fully autonomous to semi-autonomous. Sensors throughout the entire vehicle read the user's "intention" to go between the different models. Honda claims this creates an "instinctive driving experience."

That's pretty much all Honda said about the concept, which looks a lot like a convertible version of the E electric car. Honda also put out a diagram that shows all of the ways "Augmented Driving" differs from an autonomous car. 

For the most part, an autonomous car is mostly to get you from point A to point B. But in Honda's word of augmented driving, a vehicle can take you anywhere, including points C and D and anywhere in between. Augmented driving essentially means more freedom.

For visitors taking a trip to the Las Vegas Convention Center for the 2020 CES Show in January, the Augmented Driving Concept is open for a virtual test drive.

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