Nissan/Infiniti steer-by-wire: One step closer to accident-avoiding and self-driving cars

By Bill Howard on October 18, 2012 at 10:53 am

In the next 12 months, Infiniti, a Nissan brand, will deliver steer-by-wire cars; cars that employ an electronic, not mechanical, connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels. There will also be a camera-based straight-line stability system to help keep the car dead-center in the lane, effectively the next step in lane departure warning and lane keep assist. The Infinitis will have backup mechanical steering to avoid steer-into-ditch moments should steer-by-wire go haywire. Infiniti says the system allows for faster driver inputs and better road surface feedback, although it also says the system “insulates the vehicle from unnecessary road-generated disturbances.” That terminology may give pause to serious drivers who don’t like the lack of road feel from some current power steering systems.

For more than a century, the steering wheel has been connected by a long shaft to a gear in the front of the car that turned the wheels left and right. As cars get heavier, power-assisted steering evolved, first hydraulically and then electrically assisted power steering. Most cars sold in the past generation have power steering. Electrical power steering (EPS) is gaining favor because it’s more compact and works with hybrids or stop-start cars when the engine isn’t running. But it’s still assisting the steering effort of a mechanical linkage. In cars, the Infiniti steer-by-wire concept breaks new ground because the driver’s wheel motions are transmitted electronically to the front wheels. Infiniti calls it “independent control steering technology” rather than steer-by-wire.

Read more: Nissan/Infiniti steer-by-wire: One step closer to accident-avoiding and self-driving cars | ExtremeTech.

Home           Top of page