ZF Lifetec's New Concept Has Airbag That Works with Steering Wheel Displays

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

ZF is a massive company, and while you might know it best for building transmissions, the corporation houses several businesses. ZF Lifetec, a part of the company responsible for passive safety products, has developed a steering wheel airbag system that accommodates display screens, which may become more of a thing as autonomous vehicles start hitting the streets.

ZF Liftec’s new airbag concept inflates the bag from the top portion of the steering wheel rim when the wheel is centered. The device also features a system that corrects airbag inflation if the wheel is turned to prevent it from hitting the driver’s legs. The initial design is a fairly sedate steering wheel with traditionally placed buttons and controls, so ZF’s vision of a futuristic steering wheel is pretty close to the components we see today.

While it’s likely that steering wheel screens will become a thing, it’s hard to celebrate more distractions in our cars, even if there is some degree of automation helping to control them. ZF’s concept can accommodate sensors and other components that work with hands-off driving and driver monitoring systems and can help alert the driver of the need to take control of the vehicle in some situations. At least the company believes our future cars will still have steering wheels, so we can hold onto hope that others do, too.

[Images: ZF]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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2 of 9 comments
  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jul 03, 2024

    "While it’s likely that steering wheel screens will become a thing"

    Oh Christ on a bike. I wish there were still safety regulations in this nation.

  • IBx1 IBx1 on Jul 03, 2024

    God no, enough screens

  • Bd2 Absolutely not - do not want to support a fascist, totalitarian regime.
  • SCE to AUX The original Capri was beautiful. The abomination from the 90s was no Capri, and neither is this.It looks good, but too similar to a Polestar. And what's with the whacked price?
  • Rover Sig Absolutely not. Ever.
  • EBFlex No. I buy as little Chinese products as possible.
  • John "...often in a state of complete disarray on the roads" What does that mean? Many examples in poor repair? Talk about awful writing.