Infiniti's G37-replacing Q50 sedan will be one of the first vehicles on the market to offer buyers a steer-by-wire system as an option. The Infiniti Q50, which debuted earlier this year at the Detroit auto show, is scheduled to arrive in dealer showrooms this summer.
Infiniti's steer-by-wire option, which will be marketed as Infiniti Direct Adaptive Steering, joins a growing list of other automotive drive-by-wire technologies, including systems that control a vehicle's throttle and brakes.
Like those more familiar technologies, Infiniti's steer-by-wire system uses a digital signal rather than a mechanical linkage to transmit steering inputs from the Q50's steering wheel to the front wheels.
Infiniti says Infiniti Direct Adaptive Steering has two distinct advantages over typical steering setups - the steer-by-wire system can communicated road conditions more quickly to the vehicle's safety systems and the technology also gives drivers the ability to select the kind of steering feel they want.
In the Q50, the driver will be able to select from 96 different steering ratios.
"It provides an extremely wide range of both steering ratio and effort using the same set of hardware," Bert Brooks, Infiniti's senior product planning manager for the car, told Automotive News. "It allows the car to adapt to all kinds of different driving situations, and the system can be tuned by the driver for different settings."
Although Infiniti will be one of the first automakers to offer a steer-by-wire system, both Audi and BMW have similar systems in the works.