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Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

[Tech] Nissan aiming to have drive by wire by 2013

»www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19979380

quote:
BBC News Technology
17 October 2012 Last updated at 09:07 ET
Nissan steer-by-wire cars set for showrooms by 2013

Nissan plans to sell cars controlled by steer-by-wire technology within a year.

The innovation works by sending electronic signals from the steering wheel to a computerised unit that then controls the movement of the tyres, rather than using mechanical links.

The tech is commonly used in aeroplanes, but the Japanese firm said it would be the first to apply it to mass-produced cars.

However, it might need to overcome motorists' safety concerns.

Although the vehicles would still be controlled by a human, one analyst said the development could eventually be incorporated into driverless cars.
Controlled feedback

Nissan said that users would benefit from an improved driving experience since their intentions would be transmitted to the wheels faster than by using a hydraulic and mechanical system.

In addition it suggested that the development would "insulate" motorists from disturbances caused by unnecessary feedback.

"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 travelling on the intended path becomes easier," it said in a statement.

Some car buyers may be wary about the idea of putting their lives in the hands of a computer system after other related efforts proved problematic.

In 2004 Mercedes-Benz faced customers complaints that its Sensotronic brake-by-wire system - which used an electrical link to control vehicles' brake pads - sometimes failed.

Although the vehicles had a hydraulic back-up it meant some owners had experienced longer stopping distances.

The firm ultimately recalled about two million vehicles and dropped the feature.

More recently Toyota had to ask Prius owners to take their cars into garages to install a software update after reports some models had suffered from "inconsistent brake feel".

Nissan appears to have borne these issues in mind by deciding to install a back-up clutch system in its steer-by-wire vehicles, to link up their steering wheels and tyres in the event of a problem.

However, it signalled it hoped to be able to ditch the safety measure in the long term.

"If we are freed from that, we would be able to place the steering wheel wherever we like," said Masaharu Satou, a Nissan engineer.

"Such as in the back seat, or it would be possible to steer the car with a joystick."

For the time being the addition of the clutch system adds back weight to the vehicles, undermining another potential benefit of the technology - better fuel efficiency.
Driverless cars

Jay Nagley, managing director of the Redspy auto consultancy, said he thought the development would catch on.

"I think initially people will find it a bit spooky but will be reassured by the fact there is a mechanical back-up if required," he told the BBC.

"But over time I'm sure people will get used to it as its part of the bigger picture of self-driving cars where drivers don't have to be in control at all times."

Volkswagen has already tested drive-by-wire technology in a modified version of its Passat model that has driven itself along Berlin's roads.

Volvo has also incorporated the facility in tests of its self-drive "road train" concept, which involves a convoy of cars using drive-by-wire tech to mimic the actions of a lead vehicle.

Will be interesting to see how this goes, At least this system unlike a concept by Mercedes keeps the steering wheel instead of a side mounted control stick.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports


Juggernaut
Irreverent or irrelevant?
Premium
join:2006-09-05
Kelowna, BC
kudos:2

1 recommendation

I like 'feedback' when I drive. It's the signature of a good vehicle. I don't want to be insulated, as that's what driving is about. Otherwise, take the bus!
--
I'm not anti-social, I just don't like stupid people.

HarryH3
Premium
join:2005-02-21
kudos:3
reply to Kearnstd
The true screwing of the owner will come when these devices fail after the warranty has expired... You can bet that parts will not be cheap!


mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3
reply to Kearnstd


Hate to tell them, but this is far from a new idea. Honeywell/Micro-Switch was working on this idea years ago, but there are many shortcomings that kept it from going mainstream. The lack of a good method to report "feel" to the driver was one of them, and, the nature of vehicle electrical systems that make even rare failures likely to be fatal ones put it all on the shelf.


Vchat20
Landing is the REAL challenge
Premium
join:2003-09-16
Columbus, OH
reply to Kearnstd
Reliability is going to be a major issue and is precisely why it hasn't been done 100% yet. But the technology is there in most vehicles made within the past ~5 years. ABS braking systems can suffice for DbW braking in most cases. Cars within the past ~5 years or so have went electronic throttle completely. And either a) if your car has the assisted parallel parking and/or know it comes with electric rather than hydraulic power steering, that does the DbW steering right there. Just disconnect mechanically from the steering wheel and add the electronics to read the steering wheel position and feed that to the power steering motor. Voila. 100% DbW. But as mattmag stated, it is all a reliability worry at this point. One tiny thing to go wrong and you have a veritable death trap on your hands for not only the occupants but others outside the vehicle.

To put it all in perspective, go look up Google's self-driving car. Basically a standard off-the-lot Prius with no mechanical modifications, just custom software driving the car's internal computer systems. The tech is totally there now for this.
--
I swear, some people should have pace-makers installed to free up the resources. Breathing and heart beat taxes their whole system, all of their brain cells wasted on life support.-two bit brains, and the second bit is wasted on parity! ~head_spaz


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to Juggernaut
said by Juggernaut:

I like 'feedback' when I drive. It's the signature of a good vehicle. I don't want to be insulated, as that's what driving is about. Otherwise, take the bus!

100% agree....
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain

Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to mattmag
said by mattmag:

Hate to tell them, but this is far from a new idea. Honeywell/Micro-Switch was working on this idea years ago, but there are many shortcomings that kept it from going mainstream. The lack of a good method to report "feel" to the driver was one of them, and, the nature of vehicle electrical systems that make even rare failures likely to be fatal ones put it all on the shelf.

I saw a concept mercedes I think in 2004 that had this. Which was the side stick I mentioned.

Naturally the biggest issue is unlike airplanes, a car has no redundant power system. I am guessing on say a 747 each of the four engines can generate electrical power on top of having the APU. On the car you have one alternator and the battery.

Another sort of failure that could cause an accident would be failure of the force feedback system. Without being able to feel the resistance of turning the wheels it would be very easy to overcorrect since you would not have the feeling of what the wheels where doing.

Feeling the wheels is my main worry about these systems, Living in a climate that in fact does have winters it is good to have good feedback when driving on snow and ice.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports

bgraham

join:2001-03-15
Smithtown, NY
Also, the quality of aviation wiring and connector components is vastly different from the components used in cars, where cost is the main issue.

Not to mention that aircraft are regularly inspected.

It would also worry me that the cost of repair to these Nisan only steering parts would be very costly.

I think the replacement cost on some of these new automobile standard accessories is getting out of hand. I was in the tire shop the other day and a guy came in with a tire pressure sensor issue looking for cheap replacement sensors. Can't remember the car, Mercedes maybe, and he said that the dealer wanted $1600 to fix the problem.


neonhomer
KK4BFN
Premium
join:2004-01-27
Edgewater, FL
Reviews:
·Bright House
said by bgraham:

It would also worry me that the cost of repair to these Nisan only steering parts would be very costly.

The only way I can see this working is if the manufacturers offer an extended warranty on these components. Similar to the mandated emissions warranty, there could be a mandated controls warranty that says any component that is responsible for the safe control of the vehicle is to be warrantied for 100,000 miles, or 200,000... or whatever...

Of course, it would have to be written so a $1500 steering motor would be covered, but the leather wrapping on the steering wheel wouldn't, or something stupid like that.
--
"F is for Fire that burns down the whole town...
U is for Uranium...... Bombs...
N is for NO SURVIVORS!!!!!" Sheldon Plankton

Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
yes I would think the wording would have to very specifically mention "failure of the mechanical or electronic components required for the steering system"

As such the mentioned leather wrap and the buttons for things like the radio volume could not be grouped into that.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
reply to Kearnstd
quote:
"If we are freed from that, we would be able to place the steering wheel wherever we like," said Masaharu Satou, a Nissan engineer.

"Such as in the back seat, or it would be possible to steer the car with a joystick."
Back seat?

Never happen.

This is just the ramblings of a disconnected engineer.
They see a way to do something in a lab that they feel can be cheaper built or perhaps less labor involved...whatever...

The NTHSB and the DOT will never let something like this on the road.

I know some of you are thinking there is no redundant system on a vehicle...well,that is kind of true, and kind of not.
If the power steering goes out you can still control the vehicle, granted not so easily but it's not going to run you off the road.
If a tie rod end breaks you can still control the vehicle for the most part.

Now if you lose a servo, or electric motor, or hydraulic cylinder on a fly by wire system ?
Yer fooked.
If the electronics fail (like a simple blown fuse) ?
Yer dead, muerte.
There is no inherent safety in such a system, by it's very design there is no way to provide such.

It will never fly.


Vchat20
Landing is the REAL challenge
Premium
join:2003-09-16
Columbus, OH
Theoretically it is completely possible to add safety to such a system in the form of redundancies all the way from point A to point Z. Planes do this now and have extensive redundancies to keep the pilot in control at all times.

Unfortunately to do this in a car means added space consumption for all the components. MAYBE some day they can accomplish this with the least amount of headache, but at the current point in time you are looking at more cramped interiors or larger cars to accomodate.
--
I swear, some people should have pace-makers installed to free up the resources. Breathing and heart beat taxes their whole system, all of their brain cells wasted on life support.-two bit brains, and the second bit is wasted on parity! ~head_spaz


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

1 recommendation

reply to Kearnstd
To me, this is just further dumbing down of society and and less personal responsibility.


Grumpy
Premium
join:2001-07-28
NW CT

1 edit
reply to Kearnstd
Off topic on how long it takes to get to market:

I recall as a wee tyke of 7 years old visiting a buddy whose dad was a freelance electronics genius. I asked: "What are you working on today, Mr. Schultz?" He replied: "Electronic fuel injection control* for Dana Corp."
It was 1964.

(Vacuum tubes were still alive and well in '64, although transistors had made their revolutionary debut by then. Wish the old guy had lived to see ICs and CPUs.)

Fer you youngins out there, diesel injection pumps of that era had their advance & retard functions controlled by an internal centrifugal force device spinning away inside.


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to ropeguru
said by ropeguru:

To me, this is just further dumbing down of society and and less personal responsibility.

I fail to see the correlation - it is not driving for you. The driver still determines when and how hard to turn.
The throttle on my older 2001 330i is electronic and the clutch is hydraulic - I still have the same personal responsibility and smarts as the mechanical clutch/throttle linkage on my old '89 Civic HB.

I am sure pilots don't consider themselves to be dumber than pilots of old...
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain


mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3
said by CylonRed:

said by ropeguru:

To me, this is just further dumbing down of society and and less personal responsibility.

I fail to see the correlation - it is not driving for you. The driver still determines when and how hard to turn.
The throttle on my older 2001 330i is electronic and the clutch is hydraulic - I still have the same personal responsibility and smarts as the mechanical clutch/throttle linkage on my old '89 Civic HB.

I am sure pilots don't consider themselves to be dumber than pilots of old...

+1