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The Infiniti Q50 will offer the latest steer-by-wire technology as an optional feature once the car goes on sale in the coming months.

According to a report from industry journal Automotive News, Infiniti, the premium division of Nissan, will offer the new Infiniti Direct Adaptive Steering steer-by-wire system as an option on certain Q50 models.

Infiniti Q50 - 2

The technology relies on the use of digital signals rather than physical mechanical connections to translate the driver’s steering inputs into movement of the turning wheels, and follows the shift to other digital systems such as drive- and brake-by-wire.

While the system is intended to communicate road conditions into the vehicle’s safety system faster than existing systems, it will also allow drivers to select from one of 96 steering ratios to suit their individual preferences.

Infiniti Q50 - 3

Following its official debut at the 2013 Detroit auto show back in January, details about both a hybrid powertrain and Mercedes-Benz-sourced petrol and diesel engines for the Infiniti Q50 have emerged ahead of the sedan’s European debut at next month’s Geneva motor show.

The Infiniti Q50, the replacement for the Infiniti G37 sedan, is due to launch in Australia in the fourth quarter of 2013. With final specifications are yet to be released, the range of petrol, diesel and hybrid powertrains, along with the Infiniti Direct Adaptive Steering steer-by-wire system, are all under consideration by Infiniti Australia.

  • Karl Sass

    I’ve always thought this would be possible. But what happens if you get a flat battery or an electrical fault, no steering?

    • F1orce

      That’s right.

      They still haven’t figured out a way to make dbw throttle as accurate and responsive as the old mechanical ones.

    • SuperChar

      Ask the guys developing the F-35 Joint strike fighter what happens when the system goes kaput.  No steering (and in the case of an aircraft – no controls).

      • Frostie

        Actually that’s more of a fly-by-wire system.
        What sets these systems apart is that.
        If the blood of the fighter pilot rushes away from the brain during high G’s, causing an inability to operate the controls, the fly-by-wire computer system anticipates the tight turn and finishes the manoeuvre by itself.

        • DanM

          I don’t think so- apart from the potential to cause harm to the pilot by keeping them in an oxygen deprived state, how would it know when the turn was to be finished, especially in a combat situation? Losing muscle control is the fail safe- it brings the aircraft back to a point where consciousness (and with it, pilot control) is regained.

          I can see this system failing to a neutral state (straight ahead), as do most things where direct control has been removed- clutches (open), throttle (closed), etc. It would probably fail to straight ahead and activate some sort of emergency shut down to slow the vehicle.

          Would make it rather difficult to get it off the road/ on to a tow truck though…

      • Jkgh

         F-35 is packed with problems.

        In other aircraft that actually work like the Airbus A320, fly-by-wire systems been in use for about 25 years now. All large, modern commercial jets have it. It’s about saving weight & production costs and it gives them better scope for redundancy backups and automated control.
        I don’t know that it’s worth bothering about in a car though. I suppose not having to bother with a steering column should give some reduced production costs & minor packaging and crash safety benefits.

        • Phile

          With the new small overlap crash test, it could definitely translate to more-than-minor crash safety benefits.

  • G Cooper

    I’m more worried about the lack of mechanical feedback through the steering wheel. You won’t be able to feel anything.

    • Zaccy16

      yeah i agree, when all cars start doing this it will be a very sad day for driving enthusiasts!

  • Kampfer

    Why? What is the advantage of doing this?

    • Karl Sass

      Lower weight, hence better fuel economy I believe.

      • Poison_Eagle

        I think the weight loss is nullified by all the redundancies built in. There are 2 ancillary motors, plus a clutch attached to a back up R&P.
        Also, steering can be sharper and more direct, isn’t limited by geometry of the steering rack. I think this will be a massive drawcard for the car, if they get it right, we’ll  see it rolled out everywhere. Since Nissan is in bed with Polyphony, I hope they had a hand in devleoping the system.

  • jekyl & hyde

    if microsoft can get recoil into a x-box controller, surely nissan can dream something  up for this. still wonder what happens it the car stalls or starts rolling in neutral down a hill etc…

  • vsd

    The ‘feel’ in a current hydraulic power steering is artificial and has been for years. When you yurn the steering wheel of a hydraulic system you twist a torsion bar a few degrees which causes a hydraulic valve to apply pressure to one side of a piston. This piston pushes the rack which in turn moves the pinion unwinding the torsion bar and neutralising the hydraulic valve. This process continues as you keep turning the steering wheel.  The feel is determined by the torsion bar rate and the sensitivity of the valve. If the torsion bar breaks then you have wildy uncontollable steering.

    • Kobos

      Is that similar to Rack and Peanut steering?

  • guest12

    Baah, that’s nothing.
    My old Go-kart had steer by wire 35 yrs ago.

    • guest12

      So sorry for being an ignorant w@nker…can’t help it, it’s just my nature.

  • F1orce

    Normal non power steering is my fav