The BMW iNext is scheduled to make its official debut in 2021 and it will herald a new era for the company. It will be the first model from the BMW Group where the driver is no longer required to take care of the task of driving but can still actively take command at any time is fitted with a completely newly designed steering wheel. The company has teased the new steering wheel which will make its way on the iNext and it's different than anything you've ever seen on a car. It's shaped like a polygon and the company says that it is perfect for switching between highly automated and active driving. In addition, the steering wheel's unique contours - inspired by motor racing - optimises entry and seating comfort as well as providing an enhanced view of the instrument cluster.
The BMW iNext SUV will be launched in 2021
Take a closer look at the steering wheel and you'll see that its rim is flattened in both the lower and upper sections, while the rounded corners at the sides provide a comfortable hand rest. The advantages of this geometry come into play in particular when switching from highly automated to active driving. As compared to a circular shape, this makes it much easier to recognise the steering angle based on the position of the steering wheel. The moment the driver re-takes control of the vehicle, they can detect the current steering angle instantly.
Optical fibres integrated in the side sections of the steering wheel inform the driver of the availability of highly automated driving functions by means of coloured signals, as well as indicating situations where the driver is required to take over active control of the vehicle themselves. The distinctive geometry of the steering wheel in the BMW iNext has other ergonomically optimised aspects, too. The flattening of the lower section makes for enhanced comfort when entering and exiting the vehicle. It also increases freedom of movement over long distances in that it enables the driver to bend both their left leg - for example when using the Active Cruise Control function - and their right leg.