By Jay Ramey, Crain News Service
DETROIT (Dec. 17, 2013) — Nissan Motor Corp.'s Infiniti brand is recalling some 2014 Q50 sedans over a software glitch in its steer-by-wire system.
The recall covers Q50 sedans equipped with direct adaptive steering software that may disable the power steering software when the engine compartment reaches freezing temperatures, Nissan told federal safety regulators.
There's a mechanical backup system to prevent steering failure that kicks in via a clutch if the direct adaptive steering were to fail, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the backup may not engage in time if the direct adaptive steering fails, increasing the chance of a crash.
Infiniti said 23 vehicles are affected by the recall.
Owners have been instructed to have their cars towed to the nearest Infiniti dealership.
The Q50, a replacement for the G37 in Infiniti's lineup, features a novel steer-by-wire system which Infiniti spent 10 years developing. It is the only steer-by-wire system available in a passenger car in the U.S. market.
The system is designed so that there is no actual physical connection between the steering and the front wheels, with the Q50 using a computer and a steering angle-actuator to direct the front wheels.
The system employs three redundant electronic control units so that if the primary ECU fails, there are two more backups. Infiniti hopes to eventually reduce the complexity, weight and cost of the steer-by-wire system.
Mercedes-Benz famously dropped Bosch's Sensotronic brake-by-wire system in the 2003-2009 E class and CLS class after a recall affected 1.3 million vehicles.
The car company cited costs and software failures that led to loss of consumer confidence.
This report appeared on the website of Crain's Autoweek magazine, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.