The new device has received a patent for three major markets
Recently, BMW has shown several concepts, the most advanced of which was definitely the Vision Circular. It is a vision for the 2040 vehicle, with a conventional steering wheel. However, it seems that the German manufacturer has other plans for this very important device from the car, reports CarBuzz.
Unlike Tesla, where they simply removed the top and bottom of a conventional unit to create their new steering wheel, called the Yoke, BMW uses a very different approach. The drawings, which are part of BMW’s patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), show what is described as a “steering handle with corner grips”.
Both handles appear to have a pivot point located on the outside of the steering hub and always point upwards, even when the center is rotated. If the steering wheel is not used or when the vehicle is driven independently and without driver intervention, the two handles are folded inwards to take up as little space as possible. In this case, the steering control can also be retracted, although this is not mentioned in the patent application.
It remains to be seen whether BMW will put this device into production or it will remain just a concept, but the idea is very interesting, although it will probably take some getting used to at the beginning.
What can give more credence to the idea that BMW actually plans to produce this system is that the company has applied for the same patent in Germany and China. Of course, this steering wheel will not appear in series production until the cars become fully autonomous.