Car manufacturing giant Nissan has announced that, over the next 12 months, it expects to start selling cars controlled by steer-by-wire technology. The Japanese firm is at the forefront of innovation in the automobile industry, explaining that the technology is reliant on electronic signals that are sent from the steering wheel to a computerised unit that controls the movement of the tyres.
Traditionally, cars have worked by virtue of mechanical links; now, though, Nissan hopes to make use of technology that has historically been used to power airplanes. And, according to the manufacturer, it will soon become the first company to apply this technology to mass-produced vehicles.
In order for this to become a commercially viable proposition, Nissan must make major strides in changing people’s attitude towards the change in technology. One day, however, Nissan hopes to see the innovative technology incorporated into driverless vehicles, which most manufacturers already accept represents the future of the lucrative industry.
In the long-term, this should create a superior driving experience for motorists, according to the manufacturer, which said that drivers’ controls would be heeded even quicker using the new system. Added to this, Nissan explained that the change would "insulate" motorists from disturbances caused by unnecessary feedback.
"For example," Nissan said, "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."
Echoing Nissan’s faith in the new approach is Jay Nagley, the Managing Director of the Redspy auto consultancy, who expressed confidence that the development would ultimately catch on.
Speaking to the BBC, the expert remarked: "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. 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."