Even though BMW’s most forward-looking of recent concepts, the i Vision Circular, which is supposed to be a vehicle from 2040, still has a conventional steering wheel, it looks like the manufacturer may have other plans. Unlike Tesla, which just removed the top and bottom of a conventional steering wheel to create its yoke, BMW is adopting a far more... German approach.
In the drawings that were part of the patent filing made by BMW with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), we see what is described as a steering handle with angled gripping elements. It looks like the two handles actually have a pivot point located on the outer part of the steering hub and they always seem to point up, even as the centre rotates.
Gallery: BMW Steering Handle
When not in use, or when the vehicle is driving itself requiring no driver input, the two handles fold inward, in order to take up as little space as possible. In this instance, the steering controls could also retract out of the way, although this was not mentioned in the patent filing, according to CarBuzz.
And just in case you were wondering, yes, you can go hand-over-hand with this design, and it functions as shown in the attached gallery. Now whether or not BMW actually puts this design into production remains to be seen, but it’s still a cool idea, even if it would probably take some getting used to at first; maybe even more so than Tesla’s present day yoke.
What might lend more credence to the idea that BMW is really considering this for production is, as the source points out, that the manufacturer has apparently also applied for the same patent both in Germany and in China. Even if it is coming, it will only ever make it to production when cars will dependably drive themselves.