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Why hasn't that steering wheel gone away?

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BicycleBill
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re: Why hasn't that steering wheel gone away?
BicycleBill   3/7/2011 10:54:05 PM
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I hate to disappoint all of you who think there is a direct, mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the car's wheels--but in many cars today, it's already drive by wire using a sensor/pickoff on the steering column. So whle we may feel that an all-mechanical system, aided by power assist, is more reliable, you don't have it in many cases, even if the look and feel makes you think you do.

zeeglen
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re: Why hasn't that steering wheel gone away?
zeeglen   3/7/2011 10:55:10 PM
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I will never drive a vehicle that does not have a fully mechanical steering linkage. Let's hope that the automotive designers and regulatory agencies continue to think likewise.

zeeglen
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re: Why hasn't that steering wheel gone away?
zeeglen   3/7/2011 11:13:00 PM
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This is really scary. Time to buy a bicycle. Bill, what vehicles do you know of that do not have mechanical steering linkages? Let us know what to avoid. I do not ever want a shorted transistor to steer my vehicle into oncoming traffic without some sort of over-ride. Sort of like a separate button to shut off a runaway motor.

Matt Thayer
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re: Why hasn't that steering wheel gone away?
Matt Thayer   3/8/2011 12:49:09 AM
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Silicon does fail. But then again, so does metal. I had the seatstays pop off the frame on a bicycle I was riding (putting a premature end to my ride), with not a microcontroller in sight!

tb1
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re: Why hasn't that steering wheel gone away?
tb1   3/8/2011 2:42:08 AM
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If you've ever worked with radiation you know that it only takes one cosmic ray hit to change a flip-flop value. Sometimes it isn't even a cosmic ray--it can be an alpha particle emanating from the ceramic package of an IC. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen (kind of like the lottery). Check Altera/Xilinx/Micron app notes on radiation for statistics on how often it can occur. How will your steering react to that changed flip-flop? Even radiation emanating from a nearby atom bomb explosion won't affect a mechanical steering wheel.

tb1
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re: Why hasn't that steering wheel gone away?
tb1   3/8/2011 2:49:20 AM
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Here's a link to an Altera app note on single event upsets: http://www.altera.com/support/devices/reliability/seu/seu-index.html

zeeglen
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re: Why hasn't that steering wheel gone away?
zeeglen   3/8/2011 6:00:19 AM
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Some metals are stronger than others. I do hope you did not sustain any injuries.

zeeglen
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re: Why hasn't that steering wheel gone away?
zeeglen   3/8/2011 6:07:27 AM
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Yet another potential failure mode, never mind the possible effects of the vehicle beside you with a ham radio operator and a hundred watts of RF. A nearby atomic bomb explosion will likely kill the solid-state ignition system, the intact steering mechanism will let you coast over onto the shoulder so that farmer in the 1930's pickup truck behind you (breaker points ignition) can get by. Of course, being that close to the explosion nothing else would matter much anyway...

Roncalli
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re: Why hasn't that steering wheel gone away?
Roncalli   3/8/2011 3:02:34 PM
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A "joystick" (which I presume means something fairly substantial, not a twig sticking out of a small box) would work well for vehicle control if the vehicle was largely autonomous. Indeed, for terminal control such as offroad or parking in non-standard areas a joystick would be fine, and allow much more space in the cabin with the large clunky round steering thing removed. The classic 1DOF steering wheel has advantages until autonomous vehicles are available though. Either hand can operate the wheel easily, resistant to erroneous body inputs, familiarity (they used these on sailing ships for millennia after all, so there must be something to them), provides leverage and variable steering control... No has yet to suggest more novel control methods, such as proprioception-- for instance, vehicle by shifting weight and dispensing with the monkey hands as control objects. Most modern monkeys probably can't master this though, at least not easily, but the experience weds the user much more closely with the environment. This method could be attractive if wedded to safe area semi-autonomy.

jnhong
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re: Why hasn't that steering wheel gone away?
jnhong   3/8/2011 3:21:12 PM
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But we don't hate to disappoint you and your BOGUS claims. Please list which current automobiles and commercial vehicles have this Drive-By-Wire steering you claim so strongly. Many cars today have electrically-assisted steering, and a few high-end have auto-parking. All of them retain mechanical linkage. Multiple manufacturers like Mazda, Chevy, Toyota have had recalls and advisories regarding the electric motors on their power-steering, but the reports always state that the worst failure is loss of Power Steering, not total loss of steering control. You just manhandle the steering wheel like you always did with your Dad's "classic" car. Even the DARPA Challenge vehicles had mechanical steering linkages. The teams utilized either their own actuators to control the wheel, or took advantage of the steering assist, but the steering column remained.

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