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."
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.
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.
Some cars are more reliable than others, but even the vehicles at the bottom of this year’s Consumer Reports reliability survey are vastly better than those of 20 years ago in the key areas of powertrain and hardware, experts said this week.
As it does every year, Consumers Union recently surveyed its members on the reliability of their vehicles. This year, it collected data on approximately 1.1 million cars and trucks, categorizing the members’ likes and dislikes, not only of their vehicles, but of the vehicle sub-systems, as well.
A few weeks ago, Ford Motor Co. quietly announced that it was rolling out a new wrinkle to the powerful safety feature called stability control, adding even more lifesaving potential to a technology that has already been very successful.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.