Infiniti is recalling 23 MY2014 Q50s over steer-by-wire glitch

Article by Anita Panait, on December 18, 2013

Infiniti is recalling a number of 2014 Q50 sedans over a software glitch in its steer-by-wire system. According to Infiniti, 23 vehicles are affected by the recall. The recall covers Q50 sedans fitted with direct adaptive steering software that could disable the power steering software when its engine compartment reaches freezing temperatures, Nissan told the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While a mechanical backup system that prevents steering failure kicks in via a clutch if the direct adaptive steering fails, NHTSA said the backup may not engage in time if the direct adaptive steering fails, thereby increasing the risk of a crash. Owners of the 23 Q50s have received instructions to have their cars towed to the nearest Infiniti dealership.

The Q50 features an innovative steer-by-wire system that Infiniti spent ten years developing. It is the only steer-by-wire system available in a passenger car in the US.  The steer-by-wire system is designed in a way that steering and the front wheels would have any actual physical connection. Instead, the Q50 employs a computer and a steering angle-actuator to direct the front wheels.

The system employs three redundant electronic control units that allow for two more backups in case the main ECU fails. Infiniti is hoping to further cut the complexity, weight, and cost of the steer-by-wire system. Mercedes-Benz also had Bosch's Sensotronic brake-by-wire system, but dropped it following a recall that affected 1.3 million vehicles.

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