The gradual replacement of mechanical components in automobiles with electronic systems brings with it definite advantages, but also poses certain potential dangers. Just think of the inevitable problems you've encountered with the computer on which you're reading these words and you'll know what we mean. But a computer crashing isn't as problematic as your car going on the fritz when its electronic systems fail.

That's what Infiniti is being reminded of with its new drive-by-wire electronic steering system. The Japanese automaker developed and installed the Direct Adaptive Steering System in its new Q50 sedan, but a small number of those cars on the road are now being recalled due to that system.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on a small number of examples, the Q50's optional by-wire system may fail if the temperature in the engine compartment drops below freezing. There's a backup mechanical setup in place should the electronic system fail, but NHTSA says that the backup system may also fail to engage in time to avoid a crash.

Since the problem only seems to affect a specific version of the software that governs the steering system, just 23 vehicles are being recalled for this issue, which is a very small recall in the face of other campaigns that often affect thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of vehicles. But the particular nature of this problem makes it rather unique. See the full announcement below for details.
Show full PR text
RECALL Subject : Software may Disable Steering in Cold Temperatures
Report Receipt Date: NOV 20, 2013
NHTSA Campaign Number: 13V588000
Component(s): STEERING
Potential Number of Units Affected: 23
Manufacturer: Nissan North America, Inc.

SUMMARY:
Nissan North America, Inc.'s (Nissan) is recalling certain model year 2014 Infiniti Q50 vehicles equipped with Direct Adaptive Steering. The affected vehicles received a power steering software version that, should the engine compartment reach freezing temperatures, the power steering software may disable the electric steering system and also may delay the engagement of the mechanical steering backup system.

CONSEQUENCE:
The disablement of the steering systems could result in a loss of steering, increasing the risk of a crash.

REMEDY:
Nissan notified owners and arranged to have vehicles towed to the nearest Infiniti retailer. Customers were instructed not to drive their vehicles until they were repaired. Infiniti retailers provided affected customers with loaner vehicles, while the software update remedy was applied. These services were provided at no cost to the customer. Owners may contact Infiniti at 1-800-662-6200.

NOTES:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 48 Comments
      Ryan
      • 1 Year Ago
      When your technology's biggest claim to fame is how long it took to develop and not how well it performs, you might have an issue on your hands.
      z28ssx
      • 1 Year Ago
      I do not like the idea of steering or braking by wire.
        RocketRed
        • 1 Year Ago
        @z28ssx
        People said the same thing about airliners with computer-controlled throttle and control-surfaces. There were some teething pains there too. OK, and one infamous Airbus air-show crash. But now no one gives a single thought to this. Airliners are obviously a much more sensitive and complicated application than cars.
      Bernard
      • 1 Year Ago
      This recall affects 23 cars? Then why does the article make it sound like the entire system is a risk? Oh yea, click bait. :-\ Does AB no longer have standards for journalism? You do know that DAS and a PC run incredibly different software and are built to entirely different standards right? Please turn in your press pass.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bernard
        [blocked]
          • 1 Year Ago
          [blocked]
      ihatedavebushell
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good thing the temp doesn't go below freezing in too many parts of the world - oh wait.
      over9000
      • 1 Year Ago
      I honestly think that Infiniti should just stick with what's tried, tested, and true. Being like one of the Germans (which is their new direction according to the new CEO) is like playing Russian Roulette.
      foxtrot685
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why do I have a funny feeling that this option for steer by wire will disappear from the order sheets by the mid-cycle refresh of this car?
      Gary Birch
      • 1 Year Ago
      ..."Just think of the inevitable problems you've encountered with the computer on which you're reading these words and you'll know what we mean. ", I'm reading this on an iMac, the last time I had a virus was in the 90s. The last time I had a crash ... ah cannot remember. a modern OS is much improved, review NASA accomplishments.
      kontroll
      • 1 Year Ago
      what an awful looking and engineered car. Nobody in the world buys these garbage contraptions except the naive gullible americans
        • 1 Year Ago
        @kontroll
        [blocked]
      piggybox
      • 1 Year Ago
      That drive-by-wire system is optional unless you buy the hybrid version. That system sucks but very few Q50 have been affected.
      The Wasp
      • 1 Year Ago
      This sounds like one of the worst ideas of all time -- especially if they're not going to bother testing it thoroughly below freezing.
      Steve H
      • 1 Year Ago
      Man...couldn't see this one coming.
      Mikeman
      • 1 Year Ago
      So...I could hypothetically modify my q50 to be steered with an Xbox joystick? I'll call it 'Need for Speed: least wanted'.
        Dmitriy Markelov
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mikeman
        I'm sure you could but everyone knows steering with a wheel is better than a joystick. I've played enough driving sims to know.
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