Ever found yourself annoyed by that "hump" that boxes your legs in when you're riding in the rear seat of a rear-wheel drive car? That hump is known as the transmission tunnel. If you're on the taller side, perhaps you've felt claustrophobic in cars where the steering wheel sits too close to your body. The steering column was the culprit there. If you're shorter in stature, you might find yourself frustrated by having to peer over what can seem like acres of hood. The hood is so long because it must accommodate the engine's bulk.
In all these cases, the driver -- the human element -- takes a back seat to mechanical considerations. Pivo uses Nissan's "friendly innovations" to put people first in the auto design equation. A key enabling technology is the Pivo's by-wire control systems. By-wire means that the Pivo's steering and braking systems are controlled by electrical impulses rather than direct mechanical linkages. This saves considerable space and weight, two important variables in any vehicle.
Take, for instance, the steering system. As the driver, you only see the steering wheel. But the wheel is really a lever that allows you to rotate the steering shaft. That shaft connects to what's known as the steering gear, or steering linkage. That, in turn, hooks up to the tie rods. If the car has power steering, that will cost you even more weight, space and efficiency. You'll need a power steering pump, power steering fluid lines and enough engine power to run the pump. On the other hand, the Pivo's by-wire steering starts with a steering wheel that looks a lot like a video game controller. Instead of all the linkages and grease-filled boots you'd find on an ordinary car, Pivo converts the driver's steering commands into electrical signals. Wires transmit the commands to small actuators at the wheels.
If you'd like to learn more about the Pivo and other car technologies of the future, be sure to follow the links on the next page.