Backseat drivers, your day may soon be here.
Nissan has announced that it is introducing the first steer-by-wire system in a new Infiniti model next year.
The system uses electronic signals and remote actuators, rather than a direct mechanical connection, to control the front wheels. This allows for better integration of driver aids and automated crash avoidance features, as well as opening up a new world of packaging possibilities.
By removing the steering column from the equation, the steering wheel could theoretically be placed anywhere in the car, even in the back seat. It could also be replaced by a joystick-type device like those used on some aircraft, which rely on similar fly-by-wire technology.
But there are no plans for anything so radical just yet. In fact the first version of the system will incorporate a backup mechanical connection, just in case anything goes wrong.