Technology – Drive By Wire

12 05 2009

Drive by wire – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Drive-by-wire, DbW, by-wire, or x-by-wire technology in the automotive industry replaces the traditional mechanical and hydraulic control systems with electronic control systems using electromechanical actuators and human-machine interfaces such as pedal and steering feel emulators. Hence, the traditional components such as the steering column, intermediate shafts, pumps, hoses, fluids, belts, coolers and brake boosters and master cylinders are eliminated from the vehicle.

Examples -include electronic throttle control and brake-by-wire


Safety can be improved by providing computer controlled intervention of vehicle controls with systems such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), adaptive cruise control and Lane Assist Systems.Ergonomics can be improved by the amount of force and range of movement required by the driver and by greater flexibility in the location of controls. This flexibility also significantly expands the number of options for the vehicle’s design.


The cost of DbW systems is often greater than conventional systems. The extra costs stem from greater complexity, development costs and the redundant elements needed to make the system safe. Failures in the control systems can result in an unstoppable runaway vehicle – if the throttle, ignition and transmission are all beyond the direct control of the driver there is no effective way to stop the vehicle in such an event.

Forward thinking

Some fanciful theories and applications abound as to what the ultimate implications of DbW technology might be. It has been suggested that DbW might allow a car to become completely separate from its controls, meaning that a car of the future might theoretically be controlled by any number of different control systems: push buttons, joysticks, steering wheels, or even voice commands — whatever device that designers could come up with. This would have many advantages, such as:

  • increased flexibility for handicapped or disabled drivers
  • less weight in the car
  • more space in the car



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