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(Reuters)   This will end well: Nissan is introducing a "steer by wire" so you can crash while trying to reboot your car   (reuters.com) divider line 125
    More: Stupid, Cuban Missile Crisis, cold-war, Air France Flight 447, Infiniti, car companies, reboot, wires, engine control unit  
•       •       •

7003 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Oct 2012 at 4:20 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-17 08:43:47 PM  
Going to throw this out there, though it's likely been said.

Those of you talking about your "drive-by-wire" systems that you've had for years are talking about electronic throttle control, which removes the direct connection between your right foot and the induction system.

This is talking about removing the physical connection between the tires and the steering wheel.
 
2012-10-17 08:44:12 PM  
The 777 is,completely fly by wire, every input the pilot given to the stick is interpreted by software which then determines what control surfaces to move and by how much. Absolutely no mechanical linkage.. 

If that van be done, steering a car isn't exactly science fiction
 
2012-10-17 08:58:19 PM  

ZAZ: The article says there will be a clutch you can engage to provide a mechanical connection while you debug the steering computer.

$ strctl engage manual
Error: Manual steering setting conflicts with currently selected steer by wire mode.
$ strctl down sbw
Error: No such subsystem sbw.
$ strctl down tbw
Turn by wire subsystem disabled.
Warning: Front wheels are currently free.
$ strctl engage manual
You have selected manual steering mode. Please read and agree to the following:
Nissan and its subsidiaries, collectively referred to as "Nissan", have
agreed to provide you with a manual steering feature. In manual steering
mode the car will not automatically change direction. It is your responsibility
to guide the car safely. You agree that you will obey all traffic laws.
You agree that you will not use this vehicle to commit any illegal or
tortious act. You agree that you will indemnify and hold harmless Nissan
for any damage resulting from your use of the car in manual steering mode.
You agree that improper use of manual steering mode may result in serious
injury or death to you, an occupant of the car, or any other person, and
such injury or death will be your sole responsibility. This car contains
substances known to the state of California to cause cancer. You acknowledge
that if involved in a collision within the state of California, such substances
may be released. You agree to indemnify and hold harmless Nissan for any
cancer or other injury you or any other person suffers as a result of release
of such chemicals. You further agree that this is a summary of the complete
terms of service of the manual steering option. The complete legal agreement
is found on the Nissan web site. You agree to be bound by that agreement as
if included in full here.

Do you agree to the above contract? (Y/N)


+1. Would LOL again.
 
2012-10-17 08:59:43 PM  

demonbug: If there is a mechanical backup, as some have said (requiring a clutch to engage?), I really don't see the point of this. If the linkage is there anyway then you aren't going to be saving weight, and you can already use the electric steering motor to do minor course corrections if that's what you're going for (I think Mercedes or somebody offers automated cross-wind correction this way; it gives a little extra boost in one direction to counter a cross wind when it detects it), so what advantage does this offer? The idea that taking your steering input -> digitizer -> transmit to processor -> process -> transmit to steering motor is going to be quicker than just turning a rigid shaft doesn't seem to fly, either. I suppose it would make it easier to install an autopilot or something, otherwise it really just doesn't seem to make sense - except, perhaps, for those poor souls who want to be totally disconnected from the task at hand and want a totally numb steering feel that doesn't transmit any of the bumps, bounces, or textures to their hands. That seems to be the only real reason to mechanically disconnect the steering.


Indeed .... this seems like a seriously stupid idea if you're not going to use it for those purposes. It would have been better stated as "we added the option to decouple the steering shaft and use an electronic mechanism instead"

Speaking of saving weight, whatever happened to the much-hyped new 42V electrical standard and Canbus controlled lights?

My Nissan has enough software as it is ....

lh5.googleusercontent.com
 
2012-10-17 09:05:40 PM  

LSinLV: facepalm

all of you who are posting "my car has had this since XX" are not to bright. there is a big difference between:

- Drive by Wire (which is throttle and brake control)

and

- Steer by Wire (which is directional control)

currently there are NO production autos with Steer by Wire. the greatest concern I have is that there is NO redundancy like there is in aircraft (miltary aircraft can have as much as 4-times redundancy, with commercial aircraft having at least an additional redundant system).

there is a difference.


Thanks for pointing out the difference to the non-car people, it was bugging the hell out of me too.

As to aircaft, the computer system in the Airbus series is 5x redundant, with different manufacturers and software so they can't all fail with the same error. Output actuators for major flight control surfaces are typically 3x redundant.
 
2012-10-17 09:11:18 PM  

dforkus: The 777 is,completely fly by wire, every input the pilot given to the stick is interpreted by software which then determines what control surfaces to move and by how much. Absolutely no mechanical linkage.. 

If that van be done, steering a car isn't exactly science fiction


Airbus has been doing this for decades ... the latest version apparently comes with a keyboard :)

www.galexander.org
 
2012-10-17 09:14:37 PM  
By using radars, laser scanners and a camera, the system automatically brakes if it senses a risk of crashing into a person, object or another car, then steers the car to a free zone if there is one, Nissan engineers said.

So it'll crash if you're lucky. "Oncoming lanes" or "off a cliff" seem to fit the loose definition of "free zone".
 
2012-10-17 09:16:50 PM  

ParaHandy: LSinLV: facepalm

all of you who are posting "my car has had this since XX" are not to bright. there is a big difference between:

- Drive by Wire (which is throttle and brake control)

and

- Steer by Wire (which is directional control)

currently there are NO production autos with Steer by Wire. the greatest concern I have is that there is NO redundancy like there is in aircraft (miltary aircraft can have as much as 4-times redundancy, with commercial aircraft having at least an additional redundant system).

there is a difference.

Thanks for pointing out the difference to the non-car people, it was bugging the hell out of me too.

As to aircaft, the computer system in the Airbus series is 5x redundant, with different manufacturers and software so they can't all fail with the same error. Output actuators for major flight control surfaces are typically 3x redundant.


Yep. And that kind of redundancy will never make it into a mass-produced car. It would cut too far into the bottom line; corollary: the public won't want to pay for it.

I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet, so I will: FBW is at least as old as the F-16; right off hand, I can't think of anything else that used it earlier.

Also, those that say they don't use road feel or feedback: you do, you just don't realize it. Agreed that gaming feedback systems would be the logical place to start, but I don't think it'll ever be good enough...
 
2012-10-17 09:25:52 PM  

Millennium: Color me skeptical that electronic signals move appreciably faster than the physical information of the movement of a rigid body. Obviously they're unlikely to be appreciably slower, either; I merely question the concept of the difference being anything other than negligible. Steer-by-wire is a solution in search of a problem.


According to this guy, the motion of a rigid object can travel, at most, the speed of sound. The speed of an electrical signal through copper (or more likely gold) wiring will be much faster (albeit not quite the speed of light).

Granted, he was talking about pushing rather than rotating, but I think the principle is the same - a compression wave transmitting the information "we've moved" moves through the object at the speed of sound through that object.

You can see this in action in this video, in which a Slinky is held by one end (with the rest dangling below), and then released.

Anyway, your overall point (that there would be no appreciable difference in speed) is quite correct - just thought you might find find this as interesting as I did.
 
2012-10-17 09:27:26 PM  
Even better Slinky video here.
 
2012-10-17 09:29:03 PM  

minoridiot: Most apirplanes made today are "fly by wire" so this isn't new technology, but what concerns me is the statment: "Drivers can also man oeuvre cars more easily as the system cuts out what it deems as unnecessary feedback from the tires to the driver." I wonder what sort of feedback they will cut out. We all use the feedback from the road and tires to help us steer through traffic.


What concerns me are the man oeuvres.
 
2012-10-17 09:30:15 PM  
This sucks, but not for any of the listed reasons: Most days I move my car a space or two closer to my place as cars filter in and out over the evening. I have never once started it up to do this, because it's cold and wasteful and unnecessary wear and fark that, I'm tougher than a lousy ton-and-a-half piece of crap. In the future I might never be able to muscle a car around just for the hell of it, and that bums me out.

On the other hand, if it's an electric car anyway, starting it up might be instant, silent, and waste no more power than starting it up hot. Hmm. Something to think about.

But what the hell happens when the mechanical linkage is eventually removed and at some point the electrical system is damaged enough that you can't safely steer to the side of the road, or onto a tow truck? Not a good situation.
 
2012-10-17 09:36:07 PM  

ParaHandy: dforkus: The 777 is,completely fly by wire, every input the pilot given to the stick is interpreted by software which then determines what control surfaces to move and by how much. Absolutely no mechanical linkage.. 

If that van be done, steering a car isn't exactly science fiction

Airbus has been doing this for decades ... the latest version apparently comes with a keyboard :)


As has Boeing , the 777 isn't exactly new....

Military aviation also uses it
 
2012-10-17 09:58:22 PM  

ParaHandy: My Nissan has enough software as it is ....


Nice, you have a classic;)

Here's mine:

i305.photobucket.com
 
2012-10-17 10:14:51 PM  
I know of a Puegot which acts in a similar manner going into snow mode in the summer on dry roads.


Day_Old_Dutchie: FrancoFile: Four engineers are driving down the road when the engine starts running rough. They start arguing about the cause.
The ChE says "We've got a fuel problem; we need to drain the tank and refill it".
The ME says "No, the wheels are unbalanced; we need to get a front-end alignment and a wheel balance"
The EE says "You're both wrong; the ignition controls are messed up, we need to get the timing circuit checked"
The Software Engineer says "How about we just pull over, turn it off, and restart it?"

/thanks, I'm here all week
//try the veal

My previous car had a problem with the auto transaxle where it would get into a mode where it would keep abruptly shifting up/down between 1st and 2nd with a jerk. Pulling over and restarting the car would fix this for a while, then it would do it again a month later. Of course, it would never do this when the mechanic took it for a test drive, although he suspected a glitch in the electronic controller.

Finally it died completely. It spent a couple of days with the dealer trying to figure the mystery out. Finally, they gave up and just swapped out the whole thing and put in a brand-new replacement, and sent the bad one back to the factory for analysis.

Didn't cost me a cent. Ford paid for the tow and a rental for the 5 days.

 
2012-10-17 10:25:49 PM  

Sgt.Zim:
Also, those that say they don't use road feel or feedback: you do, you just don't realize it. Agreed that gaming feedback systems would be the logical place to start, but I don't think it'll ever be good enough...


Yep. FBW systems have always used feedback - it is incredibly important for the pilot to "feel" the control surfaces through the controls. As you said, we do use feedback when driving as well, it has just become second nature. Imagine if you nudge a rumble strip on the side of the highway - you feel it through the steering wheel. Same with driving on potentially slippery surfaces - you feel the grip of the tires through the steering wheel. Without that feedback (and the inherent g-forces), driving would feel like a video game. That disconnect would be pretty farking dangerous.
 
2012-10-17 11:53:52 PM  
Poor Xzibit, not one "Yo dawg" reference.
farm5.staticflickr.com
 
2012-10-18 12:26:50 AM  

Your Boss: Soon, I'll be able to drive my car from my desk! I can send it to run my errands!


Old technology.

Maxwell Smart was doing this over 40 years ago
 
2012-10-18 12:36:33 AM  

Sgt.Zim: ParaHandy: LSinLV: facepalm

all of you who are posting "my car has had this since XX" are not to bright. there is a big difference between:

- Drive by Wire (which is throttle and brake control)

and

- Steer by Wire (which is directional control)

currently there are NO production autos with Steer by Wire. the greatest concern I have is that there is NO redundancy like there is in aircraft (miltary aircraft can have as much as 4-times redundancy, with commercial aircraft having at least an additional redundant system).

there is a difference.

Thanks for pointing out the difference to the non-car people, it was bugging the hell out of me too.

As to aircaft, the computer system in the Airbus series is 5x redundant, with different manufacturers and software so they can't all fail with the same error. Output actuators for major flight control surfaces are typically 3x redundant.

Yep. And that kind of redundancy will never make it into a mass-produced car. It would cut too far into the bottom line; corollary: the public won't want to pay for it.

I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet, so I will: FBW is at least as old as the F-16; right off hand, I can't think of anything else that used it earlier.

Also, those that say they don't use road feel or feedback: you do, you just don't realize it. Agreed that gaming feedback systems would be the logical place to start, but I don't think it'll ever be good enough...


The Avro Arrow had fly by wire in the 50's. The Concorde was the the first commercial plane to have it.
 
2012-10-18 12:50:33 AM  

minoridiot: Most apirplanes made today are "fly by wire" so this isn't new technology, but what concerns me is the statment: "Drivers can also man oeuvre cars more easily as the system cuts out what it deems as unnecessary feedback from the tires to the driver." I wonder what sort of feedback they will cut out. We all use the feedback from the road and tires to help us steer through traffic.


I would also question the quality assurance of a 20-40 thousand dollar piece of equipment versus a 30-100 million dollar piece of equipment
 
2012-10-18 01:26:34 AM  

j0e_average: Drive by wire rally cross racing!

NOT


Are you a time traveller from 1992?

/[areyouawizard.jpg]
 
2012-10-18 01:32:02 AM  

ElBarto79: I can see some benefits to this, for example you could quicken the steering at slow speeds and slow it at high speeds. When you're going 70 down the freeway you don't need to make large movements in the wheel.

Also, what if you never had to adjust your alignment again? Want to zero your steering? Just position your wheel where you think the resting position should be, hit a button and boom, your steering is zeroed. You could adjust your alignment as easily as you adjust your power mirrors from the comfort of your seat.

It would also be possible to compensate for things like understeer or skidding dynamically. And finally what about different steering characteristics for different driving styles? Maybe grandma likes very slow steering with zero feedback, while junior likes quick, racecar like steering with lots of force feedback.


The issue you're describing where zeroing your steering wheel would be beneficial likely means that your steering rack isn't attached to your frame and you're probably going to die soon. Wheel misalignment doesn't happen evenly across an axel.
 
2012-10-18 05:48:12 AM  
Just in time for driverless cars.
 
2012-10-18 09:44:53 AM  
Why are the choices only mechanical or purely electronic steering? There is a third option: steer by hydraulics.

1. Manual mode: steering wheel turns a gear pump, directly piping fluid to a two-hose cylinder that steers the wheels. System pressure, steering rigidity, and road feedback is maintained with an oil reserve pressurization tank in event of power or control failure.

2. Automatic drive mode: electronic valves are held open that allow "drive by computer" using a servo controlled gear pump and sensors on the hydraulic cylinder, bypassing the steering wheel gear pump. A secondary pressurization pump maintains the oil reserve tank pressure.

3. In event of power or system failure, the electronic valves automatically close, cutting off drive-by-computer, for full no-power manual steering.

This eliminates all raw mechanical linkages and allows a universal worldwide car body, that just requires swapping out dashboards with a hydraulic steering wheel, for left-side/right-side driver positions.

The throttle, brake, clutch, and shifter can all similarly use hydraulic lines rather than direct mechanical linkages.

,

I shall refer back to this post as prior art, if I see any patent filings related to this. ;)

- Dale Mahalko
 
2012-10-18 09:47:58 AM  
I used to work in a rock quarry driving 75 ton trucks. All of the controls were electric due to excessive distance between the cockpit and the components they controlled. Never had an issue with that.

/The emergency brake however, did not work until OSHA made them fix it.
//Ah, the good ole' days...
 
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