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Nissan announces fly-by-wire steering technology for Infiniti models [video]

First models to be launched within a year

Nissan has announced at the beginning of this week that they plan on equipping some of the upcoming Infiniti models with a system capable of controlling the steering electronically instead of mechanically. The Nippon automaker calls this “steer-by-wire” technology and will be implemented in mass-produced cars wearing the Infiniti badge.

Within a year we will see the first cars to feature this technology, according to what Nissan representatives said during a briefing. By using this new tech, the inputs made by the driver through the car’s steering wheel will be sent to a electronic engine control unit that can instruct an actuator how to move the tires. These future models will also benefit from a backup clutch designed to mechanically link the steering wheel and tires in case there are some problems. The system also communicate road surface feedback to the driver.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of this technology as last year Audi implemented it in the A2 Concept, but the difference is that Nissan is the first to use it in production vehicles.

Further details can be found in the following press release.

YOKOHAMA, Japan (October 17, 2012) - Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today unveiled the world's first steering technology that allows independent control of a vehicle's tire angle and steering inputs. This next-generation steering technology was developed by Nissan.

 

A conventional steering system directs tire movements by transmitting steering inputs to the tires via a mechanical link. Nissan's next-generation steering technology reads the driver's intentions from steering inputs and controls the vehicle's tire movements via electronic signals. This transmits the driver's intentions to the wheels even faster than a mechanical system and increases the direct driving performance feel by quickly and intelligently communicating road surface feedback to the driver.

 

The system controls and insulates the vehicle from unnecessary road-generated disturbances to deliver only the necessary performance feel to the driver. For example, even on a road surface with minor ridges or furrows, the driver no longer has to grip the steering wheel tightly and make detailed adjustments, so traveling on the intended path becomes easier.


Accompanying this next-generation steering technology, Nissan has also developed a camera-based straight-line stability system to further enhance on-center driving capability. This system is a world-first*2 technology that improves vehicle stability by making small input angle adjustments so the vehicle will accurately trace and continue as planned in the lane it is traveling. If the vehicle direction changes due to road surface or crosswinds, the system acts to minimize the effect of these conditions resulting in reduced steering input from the driver.

 

Using a camera mounted above the vehicle's rearview mirror, the system analyzes the road ahead, recognizes the lane direction, detects changes in the vehicle's direction, and transmits this information to multiple electronic control units as electronic signals. If a discrepancy occurs, the system acts to reduce the discrepancy by controlling the opposing force to the tire angle. By reducing the frequency of detailed steering input adjustments, which are a cause of fatigue on long drives, the driver's workload is greatly reduced.

 

This next-generation steering technology's high reliability is achieved by multiple ECUs. In the event a single ECU malfunctions, another ECU will instantly take control, and in extreme circumstances such as the power supply being disrupted, the backup clutch will act to connect the steering wheel and wheels mechanically, ensuring continued safe travel.

 

This technology will be equipped on select Infiniti models on sale within one year to provide "Driving as Intended" and "Driving with Peace of Mind" for owners.

 

*1: World-first development of an independent control steering technology that controls tire and steering angles inputs independently.
*2: World-first development of an accurate tracing technology that enables a driver to continue driving as planned in the lane with small steering angle adjustments (depending on road conditions).

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Comments (9)

 KheirFrancis KheirFrancis
If they bring back the Q, that should be the first one to launch this new technology
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November 21, 2012 1:15 am
 charlemagne charlemagne
it ain't the most intelligent move to complicate things up when they don't actually need to. a damn infiniti isn't a plane.
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October 18, 2012 5:18 am
 Han Solo Han Solo
Why do you need 3 Different Control Units to control your steering??? I dont think that is Energy/ Weight/ Space efficient at all...
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October 17, 2012 11:56 pm
 Bremen_Koenigsegg Bremen_Koenigsegg
If this is the direction Nissan is going in, I demand joystick-operated cars. That way I can tell my grandkids about the days when cars were steered by steering wheels. And didn't fly.
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October 17, 2012 10:57 am
 LarryBoy LarryBoy
Current electromechanical steering systems already have really bad steering feel.
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October 17, 2012 10:03 am
 ATS-V ATS-V
So this is Nissan improved version of the Chevy Colbalt also have Electric steering and it a pain in the a** with the fuse always blowing out... What make this so different?
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October 17, 2012 9:51 am
 dmanero dmanero
Sound like a great idea, weight saving and less part that can break. But on the other hand I dont think I'd feel comfortable with the fact the the steering is not controled electronically, at least if the electrical problem while driving you can steering your car to the side of the road, but with this setup you have no control what so ever.
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October 17, 2012 8:47 am