Nissan's next-generation steering employs a steering angle sensor at the steering wheel, three ECUs for control, electric motors to power the rack, and a steering force actuator near the driver to retain the vehicle's "steering feel."
If you had a general failure, the mechanical steering linkage is expected to kick in. But if you had a general failure, what are the chances that the one thing to work would happen to be the clutch to re-engage the mechanical steering? If the electric clutch mechanism is never used, then it'll very possibly be corroded or stuck or whatever. I never used the power window switches for the rear windows in my old BMW for years at a time. When I finally did, corrosion had coated the contacts and they didnt work. Somehow I would not have a lot of confidence in the backup systems here. What would be the recommendation... hammer on the steering wheel to free it as the car veers off the road? Or just duck and pray?
Don't compare this idea with aircraft fly-by-wire systems because there is no comparison.
Aircraft have air worthiness inspections every year and every 100 hours as well as being required to follow all recommended maintenance from the manufacturer and air worthiness directives from the FAA. Now, contrast that with how many times you've seen the Check Engine light glowing on a car that just whizzed past you 20MPH above the speed limit with a hood that hasn't been opened in the last two years.
The average motorist can't be bothered with oil changing let alone maintenance and inspection to a drive by wire system.
I wouldn't want it. I remember when several other vehicles had problems with the accelerator acting with a mind of it's own. Now we will have to worry about the car going left when you want to go right. Let alone maintenace, something else to break and have the dealer take your arm to pay for it.
I would hope that the automakers would take into account when the vehicle might run out of fuel which unfortunately occurs quite a lot. At least with a vehicle with a current steering linkage, you can coast to the shoulder with some steering mobility. It would be terrible if your wheels locked in their current orientation and you could not nudge your vehicle out of traffic.
We have already tried fly-by-wire accelerators and they have proven failures. It is not just Toyota, but other cars as well that have accelerated far faster than the driver has wanted. Less well publicized is the fact fly-by-wire gas pedals also have numerous complaints for low idle as well. Cars simply are expensive or maintained well enough for these systems right now. Maybe in 30 years when the cost of the technoloy comes down, but I doubt, because there will still be far too many people who can't afford proper maintenance.
That's interesting, Chuck. If the redundant system is electronic, than it will have the same vulnerability if the electrical system goes out. I've experienced driving a car when the electricity goes out. The steering becomes more difficult, but you can still steer.
Maybe it could serve to make the car lighter, or reduce costs, but statements such as "Enable drivers to feel" the road" or "Enhance driving" just don't make any sense! How can you disconnect the driver from the road and put him behind a simulated steering wheel and yet claim that this will help the driver feel the road? Doesn't this sound like pure marketing nonsense?
You've got a point there, Rigby5. The thing with autos, rather than industrial vehicles is that test and maintenance practices will vary extremely widely. Commercial vehicles and aircraft have mandatory inspections, etc. The individual, on the other hand, might do only minimal inspection. What happens when there is a control failure in traffic? How do you safely get to a stop with no power?
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