The X-by-wire systems market is expected to register a CAGR of 13.7% over the forecast period (2018-2023). In the automotive x-by-wire systems, the actual control of the vehicle is initially supported by electronically-assisted control before the elimination of the mechanical linkage. This technology helps replace traditional components, such as steering column, intermediate shafts, pumps, hoses, and others, in a vehicle.
The limited functionality of sensors leads to a reduction in their reliability. Malfunctioning of even a single sensor could lead to catastrophic results. On the other hand, an error in the electronic control unit (ECU) function could also lead to an accident, even if all the sensors are functioning correctly. For instance, if the braking system of the vehicle comes equipped with a brake-by-wire system that commits an error in calculating the amount of pressure required for optimum braking, or if the sensor fails for once in taking the input, the brakes will not be applied, leading to an accident. Not only the braking system, but a glitch in the functioning of any sensor can be dangerous and cause an accident. For example, many Toyota vehicles using a throttle-by-wire system experienced issues with the throttle-by-wire system’s performance. This fault led to the complete opening of the throttle valve even when the driver had not used the accelerator pedal. A malfunctioning throttle-by-wire in the Lexus ES350 led to the death of four travelers in California. Toyota has agreed to recall over four million vehicles, which might have a possible malfunctioning throttle-by-wire software. Nissan also decided to recall its Infiniti Q50 luxury sedans, which might have a potential steer-by-wire issue. According to the report filed with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the steering-by-wire system could seize to function if the engine compartment temperature falls below zero degree Celsius. Such incidents may lead to a reduction in the adoption rate for these systems, thereby posing a threat to the x-by-wire market. However, with advances in the electronic and software technology, these incidences are expected to reduce, which will, in turn, drive the growth of the market.
Self-driving cars are barely an automotive technology of the future, as there are already cars with partial or complete self-driving features. The prerequisite for any autonomous vehicles is the full automation of all the control systems, not requiring any human intervention. The only possible way of achieving a completely autonomous vehicle is the application of drive-by-wire technology. For vehicles to be completely autonomous, the functions are programmed to a microprocessor equipped with electronic safety systems. These autonomous vehicles are divided into two different categories - semi-autonomous vehicles and fully autonomous vehicles. These vehicles are expected to make their debut soon, with BMW planning to launch its self-driving electric vehicle, the BMW iNext, in 2021, Toyota by 2020, and Tesla by the end of 2018. Furthermore, Audi is also in talks to launch their Audi A8 2018 L3 Autonomous vehicle by the end of 2018. The technology used in the Audi shall be known as the “Traffic Jam Pilot”, which shall enable the vehicle to drive autonomously through extreme traffic, with zero driver input. The all-new Audi A8 shall feature number of ultrasonic, radar, and laser sensors with front-facing cameras, which shall enable the car to achieve autonomous driving. Even though the regulatory approvals are likely to take 1-3 years, many autonomous vehicles are expected to be on-road by 2025. Many advanced driver assistance systems can be made possible only with the use of electronics, microprocessors, and a switch to the drive-by-wire technology from the conventional technology. The transformation of the present vehicles to the autonomous vehicles is not an instantaneous process but a progressive one, in which the x-by-wire technology is a crucial step.
Major Players: Nissan, Pugeot, RLP Engineering, TORC Technologies, Audi, Orscheln Products, TRW, Honeywell, amongst others.
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