Infiniti has entered the realm of aircraft for a cool technological upgrade on its Q50 luxury sports sedan. The 2014 Infiniti Q50 will feature a new steer-by-wire system called Direct Adaptive Steering. This steering technology replaces the conventional mechanical steering linkages with digital controls.
If this sounds quite similar to the fly-by-wire technology already employed in aircraft from a 747 to a jet fighter, it is no coincidence. The Direct Adaptive Steering technology operates on a similar concept. The steering controls are 100 percent electronic. A backup mechanical steering linkage does exist and can drop into place if the electronic controls fail for whatever reason. Otherwise, there is no direct mechanical connection between the steering wheel and front tires.
This means options for a driver. Four different steering settings based on the driver’s preference will be available to 2014 Infiniti Q50 owners. Once these new Infiniti models hit the market this summer, you should be the first to test drive one. If you live in Maryland, contact your local Baltimore dealer, JBA Infiniti, to hook you up. If you don't, then find the nearest Infiniti dealer to you
You know this is the first step toward all sorts of crazy high-tech gadgets that will make your car seem like a sentient robot. Hopefully, these are the sort of robots created to serve humans that Isaac Asimov would give his seal of approval. We don't need to deal with any killer robots of The Terminator variety bent on taking over the world.
Extending electronic, robotic and computer functions to other auto components wouldn't be such a bad thing. How nice would it be if you get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and the rubber repairs itself through the influence of microscopic nanobots, computer chips or some other imbedded technology.
The days of fiddling with a jack and straining to loosen the lug nuts – all while other cars zoom past honking at you – will be history. And it can't come a moment too soon.