Over 20 million vehicles reach end of life each year in Europe and the US alone. Despite higher rates of recycling in developed countries, at least 25% of each vehicle scrapped goes into landfill.
Steering wheels with complex, multi-material construction and integrated controls are particularly difficult to recycle, meaning that a significant proportion end up in landfill each year. Metals, polymers, elastomerics, synthetics and electronics are typically combined in a way that makes them impossible to disassemble, resulting in thousands of tons of valuable resources being wasted annually. The next generation of vehicles are anticipated to include more integrated electronics and haptic feedback abilities, enhancing the driver experience but simultaneously adding to the challenges of recycling.
Cercle is an automotive steering wheel that adopts a full circular economy approach to design without compromising the driver experience. It allows for an easy and complete disassemble and can be recycled at the end of life, whilst incorporating the complex controls and haptic feedback into a traditional aesthetic and high-quality control surface.
Current steering wheel designs are not recyclable and are a major source of automotive landfill. On board steering wheel based controls are standard, and the next generation of vehicles are anticipated to require even more integrated electronics and haptic feedback abilities to further enhance the driver experience. This has therefore increased intelligence and the complexity in what is a key touchpoint of any vehicle further adding to the challenges of recycling.
Printed piezo-electric sensor technology is deployed within the design to enable a simplified operation of key menus and commands around the wheel interface for both input and haptic feedback focusing on the driving experience.
Cercle is an automotive steering wheel that adopts a full circular economy approach to design without compromising the driver experience. It incorporates complex controls and haptic feedback within a high-quality control surface with traditional aesthetic, whilst allowing for easy disassembly and recycling at the end of its lifespan.
The steering wheel integrates the next generation of control and user feedback by applying printed piezo-electric sensing technology to tactile, driver-friendly surfaces. Doing so enables the simplified operation of key menus and commands around the wheel interface while allowing for input and haptic feedback. This allows the driver to benefit from the monitoring of conditions such as tiredness, stress and key health parameters, while providing an additional level of driver feedback such as blind spot indication.
Cercle’s approach to materials, production and assembly technologies allows it to be easily disassembled into component waste streams without compromising its usability. The design of a recyclable steering wheel meets a major EU environmental objective and represents a step forward towards a full circular economy-based transport system which could prevent up to 6 million steering wheels being sent to the landfill annually in Europe.