While airplanes have been quick to adopt electronic control systems, and have used them out of necessity or convenience for decades, cars still operate with mechanical controls. A drive-by-wire steering system works by using electronic actuators that detect how much the steering wheel is being turned and then passes on that information onto another set of electronic actuators that then moves the wheels accordingly.
There are many benefits to a drive-by-wire system. The steering can instantaneously be adjusted to accommodate low-speed maneuvers or high-speed stability. It can also reduce steering difficulty caused by rough roads and reduce noise in the cabin by eliminating the mechanical link between the steering wheel and the wheels.
In an Infiniti vehicle like the G37 luxury sedan (http://www.infinitihoffman.com/
While automakers have been slow to embrace steer-by-wire technology, it’s bound to happen as vehicles become more sophisticated. The Infiniti technology will include a double-redundant backup system — if for any reason the primary controller fails, there will be two others ready to step in and take over. Infiniti even left the steering column in, just in case, so that if all three controllers fail, traditional steering will engage with a clutch and give the driver control.
While there is no talk to eliminate the steering wheel altogether at this point, it is possible down the road. At some point, a car could easily be controlled by a joystick, a mouse, or even by voice.
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