Volvo recently applied for a patent for a rather fascinating technology - a steering wheel that can shift from the left to the right side of a vehicle and back. The Swedish automaker used by-wire technology to develop a system that allows users to slide the steering wheel, instrument cluster and several switches from one side of the cabin to the other.
This invention changes the very concept of what exactly is the driver's seat.
Published in September 2020, the patent describes a "vehicle having multiple driving positions" using a steering wheel mounted on a rail that extends across the width of the cabin. This means that the driver can sit on the left side of the car, as in most countries, or on the right side, as in Australia, England and Japan, among others. Those who want to could even choose to sit in the middle.
Volvo added that a sliding steering wheel could also mean users can enjoy more space when traveling in a car with semi-autonomous driving features. For example, if you're stuck in traffic, you could get off the wheel and read a book while the navigation is done by itself.