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Ferrari Patents More Accurate Steering System

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Ferrari at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Ferrari at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed

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Anyone who has been lucky enough to get behind the wheel of a Ferrari will be aware just how sharp they are to drive, but Ferrari has recently patented a steering system that could make future offerings even sharper.

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According to Evo, Ferrari has patented a system designed to reduce the inaccuracy and inconsistent feedback found in current steering setups. The tech centers around the fact that as the driver turns the steering wheel, universal joints in the steering column and the steering box itself have a certain degree of free play that results in a 'transmission error' between the steering wheel and road wheels. It also results in tiny inconsistencies in feedback to the driver.

Packaging constraints mean this transmission error is unavoidable in a mechanical steering system, but Ferrari has found a way around this through clever use of the electronic power assistance system. Software calculates the driver's input to the wheel and uses this to transmit proportional force to the steering system. The setup is still mechanical—the driver turns the wheel, which turns a physical steering column and the wheels in turn, but the steering system can vary its force by minute degrees to compensate for the transmission error and undesirable variances in effort.

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Ferrari says the driver perceives the same effort they would with a regular steering setup, but the effort is more consistent. The company still has work to do to transmit more desirable feedback to the wheel rim—and there's no guarantee the system will actually find its way into a future Ferrari road vehicle—but it could allow the maker's sports cars to steer with greater accuracy and clarity than ever before.

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