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Steer By Wire


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#1 Brian60

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 15:56

A per the story on the main page of autosport. Will we ever see steer by wire in F1? we already have the brake by wire and a few years ago that would have been unthinkable.

 

Everyones thoughts, positive or negative, what do you think?



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#2 PayasYouRace

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 16:07

The article in question.

 

https://www.autospor...sport/10328230/

 

People tend to get a warm fuzzy feeling about mechanical linkages, yet electrical control systems (x-by-wire) has been shown to be reliable in all sorts of applications. But because there’s no big piece of metal moving another piece of metal, people get jittery about it.

 

Whether it’s got much use in F1 or other motorsports is a matter of what competitive advantage it confers and what rulemakers think about it.



#3 Brian60

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 16:13

The article in question.

 

https://www.autospor...sport/10328230/

Thanks for posting the link, I couldn't work out how to do it.



#4 Clatter

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 16:15

I'm not sure it should be used in a racing series, but then I don't think power steering should be in F1 either.

#5 Fatgadget

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 16:21

Steer by wire.Throttle by wire.Brake by wire. Meh.



#6 ARTGP

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 16:31

The brake by wire is mainly done to seamlessly integrate the energy recovery systems.

 

I don't see the incentive for steer by wire at the top levels. How would one feel the road and grip levels? 


Edited by ARTGP, 26 June 2022 - 16:32.


#7 Ben1445

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 16:36

I guess if there were any plans to introduce torque vectoring…

#8 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 17:15

 

People tend to get a warm fuzzy feeling about mechanical linkages, 

 

I think there's a pragmatic reason in that mechanical linkages, the fewer sub-systems there are within it, give you better 'feel'.

 

Emotionally, I'm more confident in hardware than software.



#9 PayasYouRace

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 18:05

I think there's a pragmatic reason in that mechanical linkages, the fewer sub-systems there are within it, give you better 'feel'.

 

Emotionally, I'm more confident in hardware than software.

 

Thanks for providing a nice example of what I'm talking about.



#10 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 18:33

This is not 'warm and fuzzy'. A direct mechanical linkage to the thing giving you the feedback is the best. The fewer joints and linkages and etc etc the better. This is born out in motorcycle racing(with the caveat that the 'alternate' designs require the rider to relearn absolutely everything so it's never been tried adequately. But that often sounds like people claiming 'true communism' has never been experimented with.

 

And yeah I'll defend hardware over software every damn day. My phone is currently stuck in a boot loop that I'm hoping the eventual death of the battery charge with fix. I can usually limp home when my bicycle acts up.

 

The steering on racecars almost never fails. The software is always fritzing. 



#11 ARTGP

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 18:44

In the autosport piece:    

 

Sounds a whole lot like when you turn the force feedback off when you are playing a racing game with a sim wheel  :lol:

 

 

 

“We didn’t know how good the steering would be in the hairpins and with low grip on the track,” he says, “but in the end it felt really good. It’s actually quite nice to drive over kerbs for me as an old guy [not that old at 29! – ed] because you don’t have the knock-back in the steering.”  

Edited by ARTGP, 26 June 2022 - 18:46.


#12 PayasYouRace

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 18:52

This is not 'warm and fuzzy'. A direct mechanical linkage to the thing giving you the feedback is the best. The fewer joints and linkages and etc etc the better. This is born out in motorcycle racing(with the caveat that the 'alternate' designs require the rider to relearn absolutely everything so it's never been tried adequately. But that often sounds like people claiming 'true communism' has never been experimented with.

 

And yeah I'll defend hardware over software every damn day. My phone is currently stuck in a boot loop that I'm hoping the eventual death of the battery charge with fix. I can usually limp home when my bicycle acts up.

 

The steering on racecars almost never fails. The software is always fritzing. 

 

Thanks for continuing to prove my point.



#13 Ben1445

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 18:56

From that article, it sounds like development has gone very well, that the technology has been reliable and that the loss of direct, mechanical feedback can actually bring some benefits rather than being an outright disadvantage.  Being able to filter out unhelpful excess feedback (mechanical noise, if you like) and give the driver only exactly the feedback that they need is really quite interesting. 

 

I would imagine it can also open the potential to free up the chassis architecture space if there's no need for a physical steering column.  



#14 loki

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 18:58

Modern jetliners have been fly by wire for decades.



#15 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 18:59

Thanks for continuing to prove my point.

 

I like the irony of you being dismissive. But that seems to be the extent of your contribution.



#16 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 19:01

Modern jetliners have been fly by wire for decades.

 

Sure, because there's no real advantage to feel. And lots of modern places are so inherently unstable for performance you *need* computers. And I trust aerospace quality stuff over racecar quality stuff. Even though you can get milspec/aerospace spec parts in racing, the risk protocols are different from the supplier and the end user. Any random system on a race car is faaaaaaaar more likely to fail. 

 

It took them a while just to get decent power steering in racecars. You can have any old slop on a road car. 



#17 loki

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 19:03

If you don’t trust the software/firmware do you still fly?



#18 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 19:08

I think airline stuff is as safe and reliable as you're going to get. Both in terms of the science and the risk controls. The latter still has issues(hello Boing, Airbus, etc) but they're as good as you're going to get in the current society. 

 

This seems like automation for the sake of it rather than any real advantage? If you want 'easy' steering just add hydraulic assistance to your mechanical linkage. At least your feedback is real rather than approximated via software. Surely this system is no better than a gaming rig? It's taking a calculated input and outputting what it thinks you want to feel in your hands? You are no longer physically connected to the tires on the road? Which is one of the fundamental forces to driving a racecar competitively. 



#19 Ben1445

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 19:18

This seems like automation for the sake of it rather than any real advantage? If you want 'easy' steering just add hydraulic assistance to your mechanical linkage. At least your feedback is real rather than approximated via software. Surely this system is no better than a gaming rig? It's taking a calculated input and outputting what it thinks you want to feel in your hands? You are no longer physically connected to the tires on the road? Which is one of the fundamental forces to driving a racecar competitively. 

 

Here's the relevant section in the article, including the views from the test drivers themselves: 

“You aren’t exposed to so many impacts as a driver and therefore the handling of the car is more neutral because it doesn’t respond to every bump,” he says.

Buhk took the system’s first podium at the Norisring last year, ironically at the track where his team “had the biggest question mark”.

“We didn’t know how good the steering would be in the hairpins and with low grip on the track,” he says, “but in the end it felt really good. It’s actually quite nice to drive over kerbs for me as an old guy [not that old at 29! – ed] because you don’t have the knock-back in the steering.”

The 2013 Spa 24 Hours winner says development on the force feedback is “improving all the time” and that the project’s primary focus now is on fine-tuning small details.

“For me we are there, it’s not like we’re a few seconds off because of the steering,” explains Buhk, who on a regular DTM weekend doesn’t “spend too much thought about the steering which is working”.

“We are really working like all the other teams on the set-up side getting the tyres to work, working on the race set-up. We are really here like every other race team. It’s not a big difference, you jump into the car and you just drive.”

Both Buhk and Muecke praise the level of customisation in the system, with differing levels of force feedback available depending on the driver.

“One of the advantages of our system is that even by mapping switches I can change the ratio,” Huegle explains, “so the flexibility of the system is incredible.”

“It is astonishing what they are actually able to do,” adds Muecke. “When we say, we would like to have this or that a little bit different, you get it. They plug their laptop in and they programme it and all of a sudden, it really is different! Everything has been implemented, the response is there.”


Edited by Ben1445, 26 June 2022 - 19:19.


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#20 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 19:25

Again though, how is that different from power steering? And I don't understand the kerb thing, is it being cancelled or smoothed out? If the latter, back to the power steering question. If the former, don't you want some feedback? It doesn't make the car any grippy over the bump, it just takes away your ability to feel the bump?

And this is creating an artificial steering feel rather than giving you the existing one right? I don't see how this is an advantage other than in comfort terms, and that takes us back to hydraulic steering? 



#21 Ben1445

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 19:49

Driver comfort in the car from the feeling they get is obviously a clear (if difficult to quantify) performance advantage. It's the magic stuff that makes human-driven motorsport instantly more exciting and relatable than, say, AI-driven motorsport. 

 

I would imagine that you can give a fairly direct feedback comparable to a mechanical link by translating the signals from the steering-arm servos to the servos on the steering wheel. From there I can see how applying various signal processing filters can start to take out larger bumps and shakes which could negatively affect a driver's comfort in the car and leave them with just the right amount. Having the ability to tune the feedback to that sweet spot depending on both driver and circuit could feasibly improve consistency for a team, which is advantageous. 

 

I can also see how there might be secondary performance benefits which might be derived from changing how the steering system is laid out in the car. If you don't need to have a mechanical column and linkage, you may be able to shrink the size of the front of the monocoque to give, for example, a more efficient aerodynamic package or beneficial weight balance. 

 

Also, since the top levels are trending towards a world in which electric propulsion is a central concern regardless of whether you have an ICE or not, torque vectoring becomes an interesting possibility. We know that the proposed FIA eGT rules want to permit torque vectoring, which in combination with conventional steering ideally requires something to seamlessly blend a driver input into suitable signals to go to both the steering arms and motor controls - much like managing the balance between mechanical and regen braking based on a single driver input via brake-by-wire. Having a proven steer-by-wire racing system ready is a key building block to making that possible.  


Edited by Ben1445, 26 June 2022 - 19:49.


#22 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 20:00

Yeah I can see packaging and comfort gains but not really 'steering feel'. Though the bit about the tuneability and the mapping is interesting. You could possibly turn 'up' the steering in the wet when you need better feeling of the road but have lower loads in your arms.

 

I don't know that smoothing out all the inconveniences in the road and making the cars easier to drive is necessarily a gain for the spectacle. It sounds like taking real racing and detuning it to recreate iracing in a physical format. But I'm one of those people who screws up at their face at the Metaverse. 

 

In a racing context it strikes me as a "sure you can do that but I don't think we necessarily should". 



#23 ThadGreen

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 20:23



I'm not sure it should be used in a racing series, but then I don't think power steering should be in F1 either.

 

As far as I'm concerned you are preaching to the choir, however I have to wonder how the current drivers would survive a race under such conditions?

 

I don't think flying and steering in a "by wire" environment can be compared, except perhaps during take off/landing/taxiing.



#24 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 20:27

I am against it in racing on principle.

 

It is however a very interesting development, which I can see little reason to to expect see being how our regular electric cars are steered some 17 years down the road.



#25 Ben1445

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 20:35

A further interesting quite in the article:
 

Steer-by-wire is set to be in all DTM Electric cars when that concept, led by Schaeffler, becomes reality in 2024. But it’s in rallying – where the technology is being developed by Armin Schwarz, with its next outing planned for October’s Three Cities Rally in lower Bavaria – that its latent potential for motorsport most excites Huegle.

“From my point of view the rally business is even more interesting,” he says. “The potential of a steer-by-wire in rally is even bigger because I can filter out all of these big bumps where nobody needs all the pain on their arms or their joints. It’s not necessary because our system can take all these big loads and give him just the feedback he needs.”



#26 Myrvold

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 20:36

As far as I'm concerned you are preaching to the choir, however I have to wonder how the current drivers would survive a race under such conditions?

 

Why wouldn't they? I know IndyCar is a bit slower, but have a lot rougher tracks (and no, not all are run with a safety car). They manage with no power steering.



#27 Ben1445

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 21:14

And lots of modern places [planes?] are so inherently unstable for performance you *need* computers. 

(A minor side-point on re-reading) Whilst some military aircraft like the Eurofighter Typhoon are deliberately designed to be inherently unstable for enhanced manoeuvrability and so requires computer control to make it flyable, this isn't the case for a vast majority of aircraft and especially not a commercial airliner.


Edited by Ben1445, 26 June 2022 - 21:36.


#28 ARTGP

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 21:34

Why wouldn't they? I know IndyCar is a bit slower, but have a lot rougher tracks (and no, not all are run with a safety car). They manage with no power steering.

 

There are a lot of factors that determine whether drivers will get on with or without power steering. Steering geometry plays a big role. Prior to '21 teams were running something called "POU" in order to raise and lower the car.  The tie-rod would actually exert forces which raised and lowered the car.  That would be completely undriveable without power steering because the driver would not only be steering the car, but needing to exert the forces required to raise and lower the car at speed, with the aero load. So basically...impossible.  I'm not sure what the latest steering geometry solutions are.  Verstappen didn't seem too happy in Bahrain although that was more of a binding issue.

 

If power steering was banned, teams would likely respond in-kind by simply changing the suspension geometry to make it "Easy" again which sort of defeats the purpose of any changes to increase steering difficulty.


Edited by ARTGP, 26 June 2022 - 21:39.


#29 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 21:45

No power steering means they couldn't run the insane systems and settings. They'd still be pretty beefy to drive because of all the aero.



#30 prty

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 22:00

What happens if there is a power failure in the car?



#31 ARTGP

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 22:10

What happens if there is a power failure in the car?

 

I guess it's just taken as a  calculated risk. Remember that one year in China when both front wheels came off the Toro Rosso? 



#32 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 22:15

Steering system was intact  :lol:



#33 pdac

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 22:21

Nah. Everyone knows wireless is the way forward.



#34 boomn

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 22:22

What happens if there is a power failure in the car?

You should at least still have working brakes as long as those are still hydraulic. I would rather that than the new FE gen3 cars that only have regen-based front brakes

#35 ARTGP

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 22:48

You should at least still have working brakes as long as those are still hydraulic. I would rather that than the new FE gen3 cars that only have regen-based front brakes

 

Hydraulic systems are not fool proof either. With that said, F1 cars are designed so that they can crash at high speed while preserving the driver.  So even in the edge case that somehow all the systems fail, there is still a good chance for survival. 

 

As for the FE regen thing? The Toro Rosso had both of it's front wheels come off  :lol: .

 

 

It's airplanes where fly by wire is a bit more sketchy. You more or less don't survive if something goes wrong. Fortunately the number of fly by wire failures leading to deaths is very low, and people still kill themselves at higher rates driving regular cars on the road...


Edited by ARTGP, 26 June 2022 - 22:50.


#36 boomn

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 23:19

Hydraulic systems are not fool proof either. With that said, F1 cars are designed so that they can crash at high speed while preserving the driver. So even in the edge case that somehow all the systems fail, there is still a good chance for survival.

As for the FE regen thing? The Toro Rosso had both of it's front wheels come off :lol: .


It's airplanes where fly by wire is a bit more sketchy. You more or less don't survive if something goes wrong. Fortunately the number of fly by wire failures leading to deaths is very low, and people still kill themselves at higher rates driving regular cars on the road...

The Torro Rosso thing was so crazy and rare and also would have happened regardless of steering system type or brake type, that I don’t think its helpful here

As for FBW airplanes, they aren’t sketchy because they built with a lot of redundancy. It’s not that things never go wrong, but if something goes wrong there are backups and multiples of everything. I’m curious if that is also true for these race cars, because redundant parts are extra weight

Edited by boomn, 26 June 2022 - 23:20.


#37 ARTGP

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 23:38

The Torro Rosso thing was so crazy and rare and also would have happened regardless of steering system type or brake type, that I don’t think its helpful here

 

That's the point though. That an actual failure of the steer by wire system would likely be very rare if Schaeffler's statement is anything to go by. About as rare as both of an F1 car's front wheels coming off.  


Edited by ARTGP, 26 June 2022 - 23:45.


#38 AlexS

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Posted 27 June 2022 - 00:22

(A minor side-point on re-reading) Whilst some military aircraft like the Eurofighter Typhoon are deliberately designed to be inherently unstable for enhanced manoeuvrability and so requires computer control to make it flyable, this isn't the case for a vast majority of aircraft and especially not a commercial airliner.

 

Yes. In commercial aircraft  fly by wire makes possible for computers to monitor the flight and have blockage of flight attitude/profile limits. They work as a sort of safety barrier, also make possible for more sophisticated autopilots. 

 

Like for airplanes i think it is inevitable for cars. The benefits while don't appear as so large make possible a more integrated system and with self driving cars coming.

 

I am not certain of this  but might be possible it will be lighter too.

 

Concerning sport the problem is that it will be another thing that will need to be heavily regulated and policed by the FIA. 



#39 ARTGP

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Posted 27 June 2022 - 00:30

Yes. In commercial aircraft  fly by wire makes possible for computers to monitor the flight and have blockage of flight attitude/profile limits. They work as a sort of safety barrier, also make possible for more sophisticated autopilots. 

 

Like for airplanes i think it is inevitable for cars. The benefits while don't appear as so large make possible a more integrated system and with self driving cars coming.

 

I am not certain of this  but might be possible it will be lighter too.

 

Concerning sport the problem is that it will be another thing that will need to be heavily regulated and policed by the FIA. 

 

 

Stability control systems on passenger cars will probably benefit a lot from steer by wire. 



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#40 AlexS

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Posted 27 June 2022 - 00:48

Yeah, if SCS know the limits of the law they might preemptively or simultanous act with the steering input to limit stability risk.

 

In case of F1 a driver might use the drive by wire to choose the best turn angle ( for speed or for fuel consumption or other relevant parameter)  continously, based on existing track simulation. This would be more difficult in middle of the pack racing constantely with others but  makes possible for those drivers to improve their times.



#41 ARTGP

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Posted 27 June 2022 - 01:12

Yeah, if SCS know the limits of the law they might preemptively or simultanous act with the steering input to limit stability risk.

 

In case of F1 a driver might use the drive by wire to choose the best turn angle ( for speed or for fuel consumption or other relevant parameter)  continously, based on existing track simulation. This would be more difficult in middle of the pack racing constantely with others but  makes possible for those drivers to improve their times.

 

If they were going to do that, they might as well start roborace which is probably not most peoples cup of tea  :lol: . I don't think they should add any steering aid that is acting independently of the driver's inputs.  That's why "power steering" is tolerable to me, but something along the lines of what you have suggested would take away a lot of skill.  Power steering is only doing what the driver ask in a linear fashion. It's not predictive or anything like that. A drive by wire system that controls trajectory, rather than the actual angle of the wheels would probably go too far as a driver aid. It would in effect allow a computer to decide the optimum slip angles of the front tires. A form of traction control basically. 


Edited by ARTGP, 27 June 2022 - 01:17.


#42 AlexS

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Posted 27 June 2022 - 01:17

If they were going to do that, they might as well start roborace which is probably not most peoples cup of tea  :lol: . I don't think they should add any steering aid that is acting independently of the driver's inputs.  That's why "power steering" is tolerable to me, but something along the lines of what you have suggested would take away a lot of skill.  Power steering is only doing what the driver ask in a linear fashion. It's not predictive or anything like that. A drive by wire system that controls trajectory, rather than the actual angle of the wheels would probably go too far as a driver aid. 

 

They might get "advice" but not inputs from the system.



#43 boomn

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Posted 27 June 2022 - 01:49

That's the point though. That an actual failure of the steer by wire system would likely be very rare if Schaeffler's statement is anything to go by. About as rare as both of an F1 car's front wheels coming off.

Fair enough, I see you point better now. However, that failure still feels very different to me
Spontaneous failure of suspension components like those TR uprights is most likely to happen from the manufacturer trying to push the component design too far and too light or from making a design or manufacturing mistake. On the other hand, electrical sensors, connectors, etc do fail often under the stress of racing and the reliability statement from Schaeffler is most likely based on planning around failure by designing redundancy into the system, like in airplanes. But suspension components don’t have backups so a component failure is a total system failure too

Edited by boomn, 27 June 2022 - 01:50.


#44 Dmitriy_Guller

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Posted 27 June 2022 - 01:52

The competitive advantage of steer by wire seem obvious to me.  The packaging can be much tighter, and the scope for intelligent mapping can be increased (from virtually zero, now that DAS is banned).  I'm also highly skeptical of the notion that real steering feedback is irreplaceable.  Sometimes a heavy or painfully jarring steering wheel is just that, and nothing more.

 

I think the safety concerns are overblown as well.  Steering failures do happen fairly often, in the form of front tire or suspension failures at the limit of traction, and it's not nice, but racing has managed.  Mechanical steering, however, is a source of probably the most common racing injury:  injury to the hands or wrists.  These injuries sound minor, but they can really shorten your career and permanently decrease your quality of life.



#45 ARTGP

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Posted 27 June 2022 - 02:54

The competitive advantage of steer by wire seem obvious to me.  The packaging can be much tighter, and the scope for intelligent mapping can be increased (from virtually zero, now that DAS is banned).  I'm also highly skeptical of the notion that real steering feedback is irreplaceable.  Sometimes a heavy or painfully jarring steering wheel is just that, and nothing more.

 

I think the safety concerns are overblown as well.  Steering failures do happen fairly often, in the form of front tire or suspension failures at the limit of traction, and it's not nice, but racing has managed.  Mechanical steering, however, is a source of probably the most common racing injury:  injury to the hands or wrists.  These injuries sound minor, but they can really shorten your career and permanently decrease your quality of life.

 

It's a good point. Apparently Alonso suffered an injury to his wrist in the crash in Australia qualifying.  With a steer by wire system, that would likely have not been possible. 

 

As for the feedback point, I guess if a game developer can put force feedback in game, then I see no reason why technology would not allow them to put force feedback into the steer by wire system. 


Edited by ARTGP, 27 June 2022 - 02:55.


#46 RA2

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Posted 27 June 2022 - 06:02

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#47 GrumpyYoungMan

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Posted 27 June 2022 - 06:03

It's a good point. Apparently Alonso suffered an injury to his wrist in the crash in Australia qualifying. With a steer by wire system, that would likely have not been possible.

As for the feedback point, I guess if a game developer can put force feedback in game, then I see no reason why technology would not allow them to put force feedback into the steer by wire system.

Because it’s a analogue signal convert to digital then back to an analogue signal and you’ll get losses… and is the force feedback on games the same as the real life feedback, I very much doubt it!

#48 registered

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Posted 27 June 2022 - 06:25

Select different steering maps for different corners?

#49 MikeTekRacing

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Posted 27 June 2022 - 07:45

It's a good point. Apparently Alonso suffered an injury to his wrist in the crash in Australia qualifying. With a steer by wire system, that would likely have not been possible.

As for the feedback point, I guess if a game developer can put force feedback in game, then I see no reason why technology would not allow them to put force feedback into the steer by wire system.


Of course you can simulate feedback. But it’s never the real thing.

As for injuries all drivers know to let go of the steering before a crash

#50 Zoe

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Posted 27 June 2022 - 07:46

Nah. Everyone knows wireless is the way forward.

 

And then there is this old eletrical engineering wisdom: "Whoever knows radio transmission, only uses wire"  :lol: