A folding BMW steering wheel that brings back the nostalgic memories of creating those articulated figures from a piece of paper in my later childhood days. A very practical concept design indeed for the future of automotive.
The automotive industry is steadily shifting towards a landscape where semi-autonomous and ultimately fully autonomous driving in electric cars is the next horizon to look for. Even more, so is the shift in vehicle interior preference which is trending towards a comfortable and minimalistic lounge set up on a whole. This is when the need for a foldable steering wheel will be felt.
Designer: Lars Welten
Keeping this future-forward vision in mind, designer Lars Welten has ideated an origami-inspired steering wheel. This design comes with the modular freedom of folding into itself and retracting back into the dashboard when not required. For times when the vehicle is put in completely autonomous mode or parked for some fun time watching the setting sun. The steering wheel has a folding structure that immaculately collapses into itself.
The folding action is supported by the strong fiber threads running along the face of the wheel. Those sci-fi aesthetics of Lars’ proposed design are matched with the cool dual-color fabric inserts. The minimalism of this BMW steering wheel trickles down to the number of buttons available upfront. Only two knobs on each side are available to tweak the driving modes, and everything else is ditched. This hints at the use of this wheel in a BMW vehicle that has trimmed down interiors for complete relaxation. Interiors where simplicity and ambient visual appeal take precedence.
The execution of this concept steering wheel is practical and not something beyond the reach of automotive companies. Just look at that folded-down position, how little space it would take in the vehicle’s dashboard. Also, the folding ergonomics are on point to attract attention.