If you thought the Tesla steering wheel for the latest Model S was rather unusual, this concept steering wheel recently unveiled by GM Design will amaze you even more. Technically speaking, it’s not even a wheel, and to be honest, it looks more like a Nintendo Switch with leather-bound controllers.
The concept was posted on Instagram via the official account of the General Motors design studio. That means you won’t see this in the new Chevrolet Silverado anytime soon, but it’s a really interesting direction in traditional steering wheel design. We’ve seen a variety of semi-circle concept cars similar to the Model S. We’ve also seen joysticks like in airplanes, ovals with thin rims, and more. However, they are all united by a minimalistic appearance.
The Instagram post does not describe how this conceptual control will work, but some things are obvious. It’s essentially a touchscreen that can turn the front wheels as well, but the tactile controls for gear selection on the left also mean it’s not meant for fully self-driving cars. On the right, we see what looks like a small thumb-select item on the screen. But on the left we see the Brake key, so its mirror image can have an acceleration function. This means that the car will be driven exclusively by the steering wheel.
Two versions of the wheel are presented: one in stand-alone mode with a futuristic screen, and the other in “human” mode, which for reasons we do not understand shows a highway in Texas. Also, the speed limits are likely to be very liberal in the future, as the dial in the lower left corner of the screen shows a speed of around 330 km / h. And lest you think that this is some kind of electric car from the early 22nd century, both oil and temperature readings are displayed offline, not to mention the fuel level in the tank.
The integrated touchscreen steering wheel in front of the driver does not leave room for an airbag, which is required by law. But as the Instagram post says, this is thinking outside the box, so the usual rules don’t apply.