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Infiniti Steer-by-Wire on the way (video)

Wed, 17 Oct 2012

Nissan has revealed that it plans to install an electronic steer-by-wire system in to its Infiniti models in 2013.

As car makers seek to squeeze every last fraction of a mile out of their cars to hit economy and emissions targets, computer control of many of a car’s functions are controlled by computer, which means the official tests for economy and emissions can be guaranteed to produce predictable results.

Now Nissan are to take electronic steering to its logical conclusion by eliminating any direct connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels (except in an emergency) with the first fly-by-wire steering system in a production car.

The system heading for an Infiniti model next year uses a trio of ECUs to monitor the inputs from the steering wheel, a steering force actuator and a steering angle actuator to move the car’s wheels more accurately in response to inputs by the driver.

As there’s plenty of processor power to go round, the system will be able to adjust the steering in minute amounts to control wandering on rough roads and even correct for crosswinds.

But if the thought of having no direct contact between the steering wheel and the car’s wheels petrifies you, fear not. Even though fly-by-wire is commonplace in aeroplanes and there are three ECUs processing the responses, Nissan are still going to fit a mechanical link between the wheels and the driver which would be activated by a clutch if the electronic brain ever failed.

It’s a very sensible way forward, although we do wonder what it will do to real driver control and feel.

Still, we’ll find out in 2013 when Infiniti rolls out their steer-by-wire car.

By Cars UK