The 2017 Ford Super Duty will be the first heavy-duty pickup in the U.S. to get adaptive steering, making it easier for drivers to maneuver the truck, especially in tight spaces.
Ford’s patented adaptive steering technology boosts efficiency by continually adjusting the ratio between the driver’s steering wheel input and the rotation of the front wheels. Housed inside the truck’s steering wheel, the adaptive steering system uses an electric motor, a small computer and a gear unit to amplify the steering wheel’s rotation based on its angle.
The steering technology means less “arm twisting” for the driver, said Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis at AutoPacific, an industry consulting firm.
“Pickups do everything from cruising down highways carrying loads to backing up to a trailer,” Kim said. “An adaptive steering system can help reduce the workload to the driver by tightening up the steering ratio in tight situations.”
Developed with German automotive supplier TKAG, adaptive steering provides up to 30 percent more steering input, making it easier for the vehicle to maneuver, park, and tow. Depending upon speed and driver input, changing the truck’s steering ratio can reduce up to one steering wheel rotation, requiring less force from the driver.
“At high speeds, the ratio is changed in such a way that vehicle response is more relaxed, more precise, and smoother than without the system,” Lodewijk Wijffels, Ford adaptive steering technical specialist, said in a statement Wednesday.
Adaptive steering will be standard on the Super Duty’s Platinum trim. It will be offered as a $685 standalone option on the XLT and higher trims for Ford’s F-250, F-350 and F-450 heavy duty pickups.
The F-Series Super Duty pickup will be the second vehicle in Ford’s U.S. lineup to get the steering technology when the 2017 model reaches showrooms this fall. The Ford Edge SUV received adaptive steering last year.