Infiniti's Q50 has not yet hit dealerships, but the tech specs alone already have us wanting to get our hands on one and drive it. The new Q50 is an engineering marvel, benefiting from Nissan's version of "steer by wire" technology, called Independent Control Steering Technology which was inspired by the latest developments in aviation.
For the first time, the driver can choose the feel of the steering, thanks to DAS (Direct Adaptive Steering), which comes standard on some Q50 models. Triple world champion Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel, of the Infiniti Red Bull racing team contributed to the settings tweaks of this new steering system and helped to optimize the performance and behaviour of the Q50. Note that Sebastian Vettel is also Infiniti's Performance Director.
DAS operates by transferring data pulses to an electric motor that instantly reacts, essentially forging an electronic connection rather than a mechanical one between the front wheels and the steering wheel. The driver's wheel motions are electronically transmitted to the car's front wheels. There is no mechanical loss, the steering is more precise and driving vibrations disappear. Settings can be changed by the driver via the car's touchscreen, with four preset modes as well as an additional one that the driver can customize. The vehicle's driver can change his preferred strength of steering response, based on the driving conditions and circumstances. Essentially, the driver can choose how the wheel feels in their hands.
Reassuring drivers of the system's reliability and to protect from electronic disruptions, there is a triple backup system in place that uses three separate electronic control modules. Additionally, there are also conventional mechanical steering linkages built to kick in should the electronics go haywire or the power supply be disrupted. Under normal use, the clutch disengages the mechanical link to avoid confusion of steering response. To further reassure drivers, this new steering system has been real world tested over more than 400,000 kilometres.
The 2014 Q50 will also come equipped with a camera-based straight line stability system that keeps the car centred in the lane, an evolution of lane departure warning and lane keep assist systems. This reduces the need for continuous steering input due to crosswinds.
The Direct Adaptive Steering system with Active Lane Control will be offered as standard equipment on the 2014 Infiniti Q50 3.5-litre V6 hybrid option and as an option on the Q50 2.2 d.
Infiniti's new technology is bringing us one step closer to both self-driving cars, and safer roads through fewer accidents.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca