TruckElectric

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Tesla is looking into moving “current and future vehicle programs” to steer-by-wire with a new motor, geartrain, and chassis team in Austin, Texas.

Over the last few months, we have been reporting on how Tesla plans to establish new teams in Austin that are not directly related to the new Gigafactory under construction.

For example, we previously reported on Tesla building a new video game and user interface team in Austin.

Now, Electrek found out that Tesla is building a new team to design motors, geartrains, and chassis in Texas.

The automaker wrote in a new position for a Mechanical Design Engineer for Motors in Austin:

“Tesla is in need of mechanical engineers to design propulsion motors from concept to volume production.”
In another position for a Mechanical Design Engineer for Chassis, Tesla mentioned that it is especially looking for someone to work on “Steer-by-wire and Brake/motor Integration”:

“The engineer will engage in product development for current and future vehicles (specifically Steer-by-Wire and Brake/motor Integration), and provide a solid foundation for future vehicle engineering operations in Texas.”
A steer-by-wire system eliminates the use of mechanical linkages in a steering system, and instead, it only relies on electrical or electro-mechanical systems for steering.

It has potential to be more efficient and open up the vehicle’s cockpit to different designs.

However, many markets still require mechanical linkages in steering systems in order for a vehicle to be road legal.

Tesla, like many automakers, already implemented motors and actuators for drive controls in order to implement its Autopilot assisted driving features, but it still has a mechanical link to its steering system.

We also found several more positions for Tesla’s new motor, geartrain, and chassis team in Austin, Texas:

Tesla already had drive unit teams in the Bay Area, Nevada, and in Greece, but it looks like the automaker is now looking to develop new motors in Austin as it taps into local talent.

Electrek’s Take

This is an interesting development.

It would be a big deal for Tesla to lead the move to steer-by-wire, which is often linked to the advent of self-driving vehicles.

I assume that it would have to work with regulators to have it approved, but it wouldn’t be the first time that Tesla tries to implement a technology not yet approved at a regulatory level.

Back in 2013, Nissan tried to launch the first steer-by-wire in a production car, the Infiniti Q50, but it didn’t go smoothly and they ended up recalling the vehicles.

The fact that Tesla is building this new team in Texas might mean that Tesla might be looking to implement the system in the Cybertruck.

Also, we have seen Tesla patent a new efficient steering system last year.

SOURCE: ELECTREK
 
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MEDICALJMP

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When I tested Model 3 I thought it was steer by wire. I hope my CT is by the time they make mine at #518,000.
 

Newton

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The electronic steering in my prius has very little feedback(compared to non electric steer assist). it Feels like there is no mechanical connection.

But with the car off,i can still steer with no assist, if i need to push it out of traffic or something. Because it actually is connected mechanically.

Im sure they can figure out a system that keeps steering in the case of power loss, but I'm not sure how.
 

Crissa

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Generally it means there's a secondary power system. That's why in new BEV models with ABS they choose to put in a 12v battery that runs these systems separately from the DC-DC that provides 12v from the traction (main) battery pack.

It's required to keep working even when the main battery fails.

-Crissa
 

Bigvbear

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i am on the fence on this one. I am a pilot so i am used to fly by wire tech, but in the case of aircraft they are required to have an annual inspection by an FAA licensed mechanic to make sure everything is working properly and make any needed repairs. Many also have mechanical or hydraulic backup systems. They also have to pass VERY rigorous FAA testing before they are approved for use.

Cars do not have this requirement. Things do get damaged/wear out/rub/get nicked and something as simple as a shorted wire/bad sensor could send you into a barrier at 70mph....with no ability to stop it. Currently there is no governing body to do the testing nor regulations for this that I am aware of.
 

Crissa

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Well, at least in a vehicle like a Tesla, any drive-by-wire would be accompanied by position sensors so it would know when some sub-system failed, and could use the remaining systems automatically to ensure a safer stop.

I wouldn't want a wire-only system, but once we have all the sensors in place that a true autonomous system needs to be safe, we'll have the data needed to make drive by wire safe.

-Crissa
 
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EVCanuck

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i am on the fence on this one. I am a pilot so i am used to fly by wire tech, but in the case of aircraft they are required to have an annual inspection by an FAA licensed mechanic to make sure everything is working properly and make any needed repairs. Many also have mechanical or hydraulic backup systems. They also have to pass VERY rigorous FAA testing before they are approved for use.

Cars do not have this requirement. Things do get damaged/wear out/rub/get nicked and something as simple as a shorted wire/bad sensor could send you into a barrier at 70mph....with no ability to stop it. Currently there is no governing body to do the testing nor regulations for this that I am aware of.
If Tesla decides to go forward with this, I don't doubt for one second that the redundancy for the drive-by-wire will be thoroughly audited by a team of SpaceX engineers and will be as good as in an aircraft. I believe that by design, the failure risk on that system will be roughly the same as with a mechanical steering and order of magnitude lower than any other critical system (wheels, brakes, suspension etc).
 

Luke42

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When I tested Model 3 I thought it was steer by wire. I hope my CT is by the time they make mine at #518,000.
As far as I know, the US's Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) requires a mechanical link between the steering wheel and the wheels as a backup system.

Steer-by-wire likely refers to a computer controlled electric power steering booster -- which can steer the car while on Autopilot, or make steering physically easier for a human driver.
 

Bigvbear

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If Tesla decides to go forward with this, I don't doubt for one second that the redundancy for the drive-by-wire will be thoroughly audited by a team of SpaceX engineers and will be as good as in an aircraft. I believe that by design, the failure risk on that system will be roughly the same as with a mechanical steering and order of magnitude lower than any other critical system (wheels, brakes, suspension etc).
Probable, but not definitive.

Remember, your life has a $ figure attached to it for any company these days, you are just a number on a spreadsheet and cost of doing business. (Sad but true) if the cost of making something safer is greater than the cost of the lawsuits they have to pay out to a family if you die due to a design issue, guess what wins out. Unless government regulators step in.
 

EVCanuck

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Probable, but not definitive.

Remember, your life has a $ figure attached to it for any company these days, you are just a number on a spreadsheet and cost of doing business. (Sad but true) if the cost of making something safer is greater than the cost of the lawsuits they have to pay out to a family if you die due to a design issue, guess what wins out. Unless government regulators step in.
Yes, I agree with that statement but not all companies are always appraising a human life, there are exceptions and I believe Tesla is one of them now. It demonstrated this for years by putting the safety of passengers/drivers as a top priority, Elon even mentioned this at the battery day.
As for regulators, they are prone to missteps as well, 737max is one recent example.
 

ldjessee

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I remember very similar arguments about throttle and brakes.

"Brake-by-wire is used in all common hybrid and electric vehicles produced since 1998 including all Toyota, Ford, and General Motors electric and hybrid models."

At some point it will be easier, cheaper, and safer to have the steering by wire.
 

Newton

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I remember very similar arguments about throttle and brakes.

"Brake-by-wire is used in all common hybrid and electric vehicles produced since 1998 including all Toyota, Ford, and General Motors electric and hybrid models."

At some point it will be easier, cheaper, and safer to have the steering by wire.
I agree the steer by wire will become a thing, but the throttle can easily be cut and the brake still has a physical secondary emergency bypass.
 

Crissa

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Well, Tesla is still a young company that needs to make the kinds of chances that don't result in negative things that make the news.

-Crissa
 

MouldyCrouton

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The electronic steering in my prius has very little feedback(compared to non electric steer assist). it Feels like there is no mechanical connection.

But with the car off,i can still steer with no assist, if i need to push it out of traffic or something. Because it actually is connected mechanically.

Im sure they can figure out a system that keeps steering in the case of power loss, but I'm not sure how.
 

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