Assuming you haven’t been living under a rock for the past ten years, you’ll know that much of the first world’s population is getting both older and fatter. In response to this burgeoning epidemic – which affects nations as diverse as the U.K., U.S.A., Australia and China – TRW Automotive has developed a steering wheel which retracts completely into the dashboard at the touch of a button.
TRW’s Development Manager Manuel Poyant described the invention thusly:
"The key benefit [of this technology] is to make it much easier for elderly drivers or other drivers with reduced mobility to get in and out of the vehicle. Due to the significant growth of small city cars, this technology could open up the possibility for even smaller cabin designs."
TRW expects their retractable steering wheel to help both the elderly and the obese, pregnant women and persons with disabilities that do not bar them from driving (i.e. those with artificial limbs) from entering and exiting their vehicles.
And like cars fitted with memory seats the steering wheel automatically returns to its normative position when the engine starts.
According to TRW, several automakers have shown interest in the technology with the expectation that it could be in production within the next five years. It’s just one of several new technologies the company hopes to introduce to the world’s car markets to make driving safer and more accessible to all.

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