June 19, 2023 – Tesla, the renowned electric vehicle manufacturer, has recently filed a patent for a groundbreaking steer-by-wire system. This innovative system, which eliminates the traditional mechanical steering column, relies on electronic signals to transmit the driver’s steering inputs and provide feedback based on road conditions. The potential benefits of this system include improved driving efficiency and an enhanced steering experience.
Interestingly, Tesla’s pursuit of a steer-by-wire system began as early as 2020 when their development team in Austin, Texas, started working on this technology. In 2021, Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla was indeed researching progressive steer-by-wire systems, although he acknowledged that it would take a few more years before they could be implemented. With the recent patent application, Tesla is signaling that the mass production of a steer-by-wire system is now within reach.
Analyzing the patent diagrams provided by Tesla, the system consists of the following components:
1. Steering torque feedback actuator assembly with two controllers.
2. Front-wheel steering actuator assembly with two separate zones, each equipped with an isolated electric motor and controller.
3. Two independent power supply components.
4. Two separate vehicle communication networks.
5. Three dedicated system communication networks between each node in the steering system.
Tesla emphasizes that the redundant components are partitioned and isolated. Consequently, even if one or more components were to fail, the overall safety of the system would not be compromised. This design also enables redundancy without the need for a mechanical steering system.
By developing this innovative steer-by-wire system, Tesla aims to revolutionize the way vehicles are steered, moving away from conventional mechanical setups. The incorporation of electronic signals for transmitting steering inputs and receiving road feedback has the potential to enhance both driving performance and overall steering feel. As Tesla continues to push the boundaries of electric vehicle technology, this patent filing marks another significant step toward the future of automotive innovation.