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Volvo has filed a patent with the USPTO for a way to move the controls of a car from one side of the car to the other, essentially allowing a vehicle to switch from left-hand to right-hand drive, or any position in between.

This is intended for use on autonomous vehicles where a driver may need to assume manual control but might not be seated in the conventional driver's seat. The steering wheel (which uses an electronic steer-by-wire system) can move along a rail in the dashboard from one side to the other. It could also be positioned in the centre for a vehicle with a bench seat on the front row.

The foot controls can be conventional pedals, but the patent describes using floor panels with sensor pads that are lined along the width of the floor, with the ones corresponding to the steering wheel's position being active.

There are two described options for the instrument cluster. The main embodiment has a digital display that spans the width of the dashboard with whatever space is directly behind the wheel showing the display. A second embodiment has a smaller digital display mounted on the steering column that will move with the steering wheel.

The patent also describes a system of having the seats and gear shifter on rails.



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