GM has filed a patent for a telescoping steering wheel system that includes both a slidable hub and a telescopic rim.
The new GM patent application has been assigned patent number US 11,745,786 B1 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and was published on September 5th, 2023. The patent was originally filed on July 21st, 2022, and lists Michigan-based engineer Thomas E. Houck as the inventor.
The new GM patent describes a steering wheel system that incorporates a hub connectable to a steering shaft, with an airbag receiving zone formed in the hub. The steering wheel is connected via a plurality of spokes that attach to the rim of the steering wheel and the central hub member. The central hub member can slide along the steering axis.
As the patent describes, most modern vehicles include an airbag that is mounted centrally within the steering wheel, which serves as a safety measure in the event of a collision. However, most modern vehicles also include an adjustable steering wheel that can be moved towards and away the driver in order to accommodate a variety of body types.
As such, some drivers may move the steering wheel to the forward limit of adjustment, which could place the position of the airbag closer to the driver than is recommended. As such, this GM patent describes a system with an adjustable steering wheel that does not position the airbag towards the forward limit of adjustment.
Several other GM patents have been published recently, as GM Authority has covered. Several of these recently published patents include new technologies to assist both consumers and to assist in vehicle production. To this latter point, GM has filed a patent that describes a system that enables vehicles to move under their own power during assembly, while another patent describes a system for lost item detection in vehicles. Yet another patent describes a more-effective electrically heated windshield system.