Unveiling Tesla’s Steer by Wire Technology

Tesla Steer by Wire Technology

According to a recently published Tesla patent application, future Tesla vehicles may include a steer-by-wire system instead of a traditional mechanical steering system. Steer-by-wire, where an electrical connection replaces the mechanical link between the steering wheel and wheels, is not a new technology but is not yet common in the auto industry. However, it has been used in aviation for decades. A few automakers like Nissan and Toyota have developed steer-by-wire systems but currently only offer them in limited models outside the U.S.A.

Steer-by-wire offers several benefits, according to EV startup Canoo:

Weight savings and simplified design. Steer-by-wire eliminates the need for a mechanical steering system, allowing for more interior design freedom.

More responsive, smoother driving experience. Without a direct mechanical connection, steer-by-wire can provide variable steering ratios and filter out vibrations.

•Facilitates autonomous driving. Steer-by-wire is well-suited for vehicles that may eventually become fully autonomous. Tesla could equip vehicles with steer-by-wire, then remove the steering wheel for autonomy without a major redesign.

Tesla’s recent patent application describes a steer-by-wire system with built-in redundancies like backup actuators, power supplies, and communication networks. For Tesla, the main benefits of steer-by-wire would be:

•Yoke steering. Steer-by-wire would allow variable steering ratios to improve the yoke steering experience in Models S and X. Elon Musk has said variable ratio steer-by-wire yoke steering would be “ideal.”

Lower cost at scale. Though complex, steer-by-wire may ultimately be less expensive to manufacture than traditional steering systems. This could benefit future affordable Tesla models.

Facilitate autonomy. Like other automakers, steer-by-wire would position Tesla for safe, autonomous driving by simplifying the transition from human to autonomous control.

Tesla models likely to first receive steer-by-wire include refreshed versions of Models S and X, possibly Model 3, the upcoming compact Tesla, and Cybertruck. Steer-by-wire, along with other advanced technologies, will help Tesla achieve its goals for autonomous, all-electric mobility.

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