In the near future, we’ll be driving a semi or fully-automatic vehicles. Autonomous and manual modes will be available to drivers at their discretion. However, automakers have developed a technology known as “steer by wire” or “drive by wire” that will give drivers more freedom if autonomous driving is to gain traction quickly.
In case you’re curious, steering by wire feels different than a traditional one—and it could be revolutionary. Let’s go deeper into this.
What Is Steer-by-Wire Technology?
It’s like driving a car where you don’t feel the bumps in the road when you hit potholes. To put it another way, you have the sensation of driving a car on a video game console. A steer-by-wire system can accomplish this.
Do you have any idea how it all works? There is no mechanical link between the steering wheel and the vehicle’s wheels in a steer-by-wire system. Instead, electronic signals are sent to the vehicle’s gear through a set of cables.
By using digital signals to guide the vehicle, steer-by-wire eliminates vibrations and enhances the steering ratio. But if you prefer to feel vibrations and torque response, steering by wire gives you the option. Additionally, with drive-by-wire, you can move the steering wheel to any position in the car, including the passenger seat.
Sim racing at home is a great way to get a feel for what it’s like to drive a car with a steering-by-wire system.
Can Steer by Wire Make Driving Safer?
A study conducted by the experts at Techphr found that steering-by-wire improved safety on the road. Because drive-by-wire filters out the vibration feedback on rough terrains, it makes it easier for disabled or elderly people to get behind the wheel.
Steer-by-greatest wire’s advantage, however, is its ability to provide a more precise steering ratio. In other words, hand-over-hand maneuvers are unnecessary when negotiating a tight turn at a low speed. Therefore, steering by wire makes it easier to drive with a steering yoke rather than with a steering wheel.
One of the biggest complaints about a steering yoke is that it can be difficult to make hand-over-hand steering movements when making sharp turns or parking lots. After losing control of your vehicle, it is even more dangerous if you are driving at a high speed and you cannot regain control of the steering yoke. Fortunately, a drive-by-wire steering yoke fixes this issue.
Drive-by-wire systems can also be programmed to keep novice drivers from oversteering. Another benefit of steer by wire is that it eliminates the need for a mechanical connection between the wheels and the vehicle’s autonomous driving system.
Steer-by-wire systems may one day allow you to operate your vehicle from the convenience of your own home.
The Downsides of Drive-by-Wire
Steer-by-wire raises the possibility of an accident due to a software bug or an error in the transmission of digital data. Because of this, some steer-by-wire vehicles are equipped with a backup system in case the primary system fails.
Another drawback of steering-by-wire is that it requires a lot of power. If your steering-by-wire system experiences an electrical failure, you may be in trouble. A traditional steering wheel’s power consumption is comparable to that of the new device.
Compared to a mechanical steering wheel, a steering wheel with sensitive cables and actuators may be more expensive to install and maintain in the long run. There are fewer mechanical parts in drive-by-wire systems and they are less likely to fail than traditional steering wheel systems.
What’s a good example of this? The NHTSA has reportedly only recalled 23 of the 38,000 Nissan vehicles equipped with drive-by-wire because of the possibility of a system failure, according to EDN. While in cold climates, the sensors in the recalled vehicles may have been subjected to more extreme conditions.
Which Cars Have Steer-by-Wire Technology?
Most automakers haven’t yet adopted steer-by-wire technology because it’s still in its infancy. Formula One and rare sports cars like the Audi R8 LMS GT3, BMW M6 GT3, and Mercedes-Benz GT3 are the only places where it is used. There are a lot of benefits of driving an EV.
It was first used in the Infiniti Q50, but Nissan switched back to its traditional steering wheel after receiving negative feedback from customers. The 2022 Toyota bZ4x and the 2023 Lexus RZ450e are two other notable vehicles that will feature drive-by-wire and a steering yoke.
Elon Musk has said that Tesla will implement a steer-by-wire system in the next few years, despite the fact that the company currently uses a steering yoke in its Model X and Model S. The Cybertruck and Tesla Semi may make use of it.
The Bottom Line
In a world where self-driving cars are the norm, steer-by-wire will soon be the norm as well. A video game-like steering wheel feedback is safer, more precise, and allows you to fine-tune the experience to your liking.
As a result of the use of drive-by-wire technology, steering yokes are easier to use, and the best part is that it will be possible to switch steering yokes/wheels from one side of the cockpit to another.