Behind a scenes: The growth of a Audi steering wheel

“The expansion of a steering circle is surpassing rapidly. Within a camber of 3 decades, a leather-clad steel skeleton has been remade into a high-tech authority core that meets a tip standards of pattern and quality,” says Marcel Bruch, obliged for steering circle growth during Audi. “In a past eleven years, we’ve launched 4 steering circle generations encompassing good over 200 versions for a opposite Audi models.”

From a underline list to a simple design

The subsequent era of an Audi steering circle is grown from a accumulation of primarily competing pattern drafts and package requirements. The arrangement of all a opposite functions is one of a vital hurdles of this process. “Despite a far-reaching accumulation of functions, we need to safeguard that we don’t confusion adult a steering wheel. Instead, drivers need to be means to work it intuitively so that they can entirely concentration on a road,” says Bruch. “A steering wheel’s handling and preference functions are tangible privately for any model. The steering circle in a new Q4 e-tron, for example, can be used to control 18 opposite features. That’s a vital challenge.”

First, a growth group draws adult an overview of all a required functions, before clustering associated functions together in a second step. The subsequent step is to roughly confirm where to position a clusters and, within a routine of formulating a altogether design, name suitable control elements. Only afterwards do they make a preference on how a functions will be operated – i.e. around hold contra earthy elements. “The outcome is a simple pattern with modifications specific to a indication and features,” says Bruch. “For example, a customary steering circle differs from a discretionary versions with honour to a cover, musical trim, colors, applications, and technical functions.” There are 16 opposite versions of a steering circle for a Q4 e-tron alone. A new underline for a compress electric SUV is a steering circle rim, that is optionally accessible with a flattened tip and bottom. The pattern is not usually really sporty, though generally blending to a new figure of a arrangement and it creates it easier to get in and out of a vehicle.. “We constantly have to change a opposing final of pattern and ergonomics. After all, a steering circle needs to sojourn easy to hoop and accommodate tangible ergonomic requirements,” explains Bruch. “The pivotal here is to find a best solutions early in a growth process.”

Ergonomic, design, and reserve criteria

Generally speaking, steering circle growth during Audi is governed by a series of elemental principles.

  • The edge figure and core contingency be designed to be as tiny and compress as possible
  • When it comes to a steering wheel’s diameter, 375 millimeters opposite has turn a customary
  • The oval pattern of a edge cross-section corresponds to a healthy outline of a sealed palm. The hole of a edge measures approximately 30 – 36 millimeters.
  • It has to be probable to work middle functions with a ride though interfering with a tangible routine of steering a car
  • The concentration is on a sporty design. The spokes are partially slim
  • Surfaces and opening measure contingency accommodate Audi’s high standards of reward quality

As partial of a motorist patience system, steering circle growth contingency approve with some-more than 35 laws and guidelines, some of that overlie with any other depending on a country. These embody specifications ruling passenger reserve and pile-up behavior, flammability, as good as design, materials, and assistance systems. At Audi, all a steering wheels have a same pattern worldwide. The usually disproportion from nation to nation relates to a driver’s airbag due to opposite pile-up requirements.

The steering circle in Audi vehicles has come standard-equipped with a driver’s-side airbag given 1993 – a miracle in pacifist car safety. “The introduction of an airbag in a steering circle acted vital hurdles to designers and developers, since a impact absorber indispensable to sojourn as tiny as possible,” says Bruch, “but in this case, as well, a record and prolongation processes have undergone poignant advances and have turn increasingly space-saving.” In a eventuality of a collision, a steering circle contingency be means to withstand huge stresses though causing a steering circle edge or other components, such as a panels, to break. This is accurate in strength and pile-up tests. Specifically, these embody knee invasion tests or what are famous as physique retard tests, in that pile-up exam dummies impact a steering circle skeleton during speeds of adult to 26 km/h in several positions. This creates it probable to focus rarely stressed areas and privately optimize rib structures and wall thicknesses.

Touch it!

The feel of a steering circle also plays an critical purpose during Audi. All Audi steering wheels with hands-on showing and/or steering circle heating have dual layers of froth cushioning to grasp an superb turn of aspect peculiarity and a non-slip feel. This customary is practical down to a smallest fact and to each control element. Drivers feel this, for example, by intensely accurate rotation/pressing operations or a singular click of a steering circle buttons specific to Audi.

When selecting materials, Audi focuses on 3 criteria: high-quality, durable, and long-lasting. All a leathers used by a association are a by-product of food production, dark-skinned in a chrome-free process, breathable, and totally dyed. Laboratory contrast encompasses erosion resistance, lightfastness, decline behavior, flexural strength, tensile strength, interior emissions, and blazing behavior, among other properties.

“In addition, we will also be regulating a microfiber element Dinamica as a steering circle cover in a future,” says Bruch. “Dinamica looks and feels like suede, though is done mostly from recycled polyester, such as that sourced from textiles and PET bottles.”

Testing and prolongation willingness

Early full-scale prototypes paint an initial miracle in a growth process. These are 3D-printed components where a leather is manually practical to a rim, cumulative with glue, and afterwards hand-stitched like in a prolongation models. Further growth and finalization takes place on a basement of these initial samples. “A new steering circle era can usually be scrupulously and conclusively assessed on a road, however. Testing is carried out in preproduction vehicles around continuation tests,” explains Bruch. The exam drivers embody people who expostulate both intermittently and frequently, women and men, younger and comparison drivers, high and brief drivers, and people who expostulate both aggressively and some-more conservatively. Despite their differences, all of them are approved Audi experts who exam and consider a car from each customer-related indicate of view. They yield profitable submit during growth to safeguard a steering circle offers limit functionality and ergonomics. How does a steering circle feel when driving? Is a steering circle edge too thick or too thin? Does it have any edges that are vitriolic to a touch? How do we rate a altogether ergonomics of a steering wheel? Is it discerning to operate? Does a hands-on showing work though any issues? All of this is tested in opposite trade situations and environments – in civic areas, on farming roads, and on highways. In this process, around 600 preproduction vehicles spend about 6 months on a highway – clocking in 700,000 hours of pushing and 35 million kilometers. “This is how we can safeguard that like only a rest of a vehicles, a steering wheels also accommodate a tip standards of peculiarity and safety,” says Bruch.