By-wire also offers important advantages for vehicle manufacturers. Elimination of mechanical systems could cut weight and could more easily enable automakers to switch a car from a left-hand-drive to right-hand-drive, so it could be sold in other countries.
The transition to steer-by-wire has been a long-awaited one. As far back as a decade ago, auto industry engineers looked forward to the addition of steer-by-wire and brake-by-wire technologies but hesitated because it was believed that 42V electrical architectures would be needed in order to make it happen. "You can't do steer-by-wire with a 12V system," one veteran industry engineer was quoted as saying in a 2001 Design News article. "For steer-by-wire, 42V is absolutely essential." At the time, engineers estimated that steer-by-wire would draw as much as 1.8kW, which they said would necessitate use of better alternators.
Infiniti did not say what changes had enabled the use of steer-by-wire in its cars, but the company did say it is not depending on the higher-voltage of hybrid electrical architectures to make it happen. "We've not announced what vehicles it will go into, but it has been demonstrated in a conventionally powered car, not a hybrid," Bazemore said. "So you can reasonably assume that's how we'll offer it."
If you want to experience just how difficult anti-intuitive steering can be, try this experiment on a bicycle. After you get rolling along a straight clear path, grb the right-hand grip with your left hand and try to kep going straight. BUt be certain that your helmet is on correctly before doing this experiment.
Going to a non-intuitive steering method could be a real disaster.
I can certainly agree that maintenance and proper repair must be concerns relative to this technology. The days of the shade-tree-mechanic are over forever with systems as sophisticated as this one. I think back-up systems are an absolute must until enough reliability data and "road experience" are available.
Tell you what: I'll buy if I see it win a race in a major event. Any of the big ones: Indycar, NASCAR, F1, F2000, GT, Paris-Dakar, whatever. If you show me a race team using drive by wire for a season and winning, then I'll buy it.
If the technology is so great then show me. Any race team would love to shave weight, reduce parts and 'enhance' the driver's road feel. Also the drive-by-wire could deliver a lot of data to the race team computers. I can see how it would be a huge advantage.
I am not sure if there is a better way to steer a car than using the steering wheel. Consider that it never gets lost, and it is positioned so that it can be turned by either hand. Also, the motion is intuitive to almost everybody-turn the wheel right to turn right, about as easy to figure out as possible. If there were an electrical control for it, we might wind up like we are with seatbelt buckles, with a bunch of different kinds, and some of them are really TRASH, in that they are hard to connect and impossible to release wearing heavy gloves. Just think, they all started out just like the seatbelt buckles in airplanes.
Steering could wind up being a function on that same stupid big red button that is used for start and stop on some inferior brands of cars.
It won't be long and we can finally drive a car using the X-box remote. In all seriousness though, I wonder if this technology might open up the doors to a better way for drivers to control their vehicles.
Steer by wire allows getting rid of the engine driven hydraulic pump, but so does electrically assisted power steering. Totally removing the steering gear as it now exists gets rid of a bunch of fairly precision parts and allows the use of a much cheaper position servo system, since it does not need to be accurate because drivers go by what the car does, not where the wheel is. Completely blind drivers are a different case, though.
Drive by wire would also get rid of the strong supports for the steering wheel, since the driver is only sending a position command, probably to a computer. Would you want a computer deciding that a sharp swerve to avoid hitting someone was an unsafe move, and not make it?, or refuse to swerve around a broken bottle in the roadway? And WE KNOW that the programmers at Nissan are all "much smarter than we are". So drive by wire is still fine for planes and trains, although I understand that current Diesel engines do have a totally manual means of stopping and shutting down available.
I could be wrong, but I believe one of the big advantages of steer-by-wire right now lies in the manufacturing differences between left-hand drive and right-hand drive. Right now, that's a big change, going from left to right to accommodate sale in other countries. If you take away the mechanicals, though, the manufacturing change is no big deal. For that matter, you could put the steering wheel in the back seat, or you could use a joystick to drive the car, and that wouldn't be a very big deal, either.
It seems that all of those commenting don't like the concept of steer by wire for a number of different reasons. And all of the reasons presented do appear to be quite valid.
Of course the reason that Nissan wants to sell it is because it reduces the cost to build the vehicle, not because of any improvement that it offers. But that would never sell, so they need to make up some tale about how wonderful it would be.
I really don't like it at all when people or companies lie to me.
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