2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid SportEnlarge Photo
The steering system in Infiniti's 2014 Q50 is incredibly clever, but apparently not immune to issues--and the NHTSA has launched its first recall for vehicles fitted with the system.
It shouldn't affect too many owners though, since only 23 units have been identified as potentially affected. The recall centers on a recent software update to the all-electric, steer-by-wire system. Should the engine compartment be subject to freezing temperatures, the software may disable the electric steering system, but also delay engagement of the clutch-operated manual backup steering system.
This disabling of the steering systems could result in loss of steering control and subsequently an accident, though no related incidents are reported on the NHTSA site. Parent company Nissan has already contacted owners and arranged to have affected vehicles towed to their nearest dealer for a remedial software update. Owners were instructed not to drive their vehicles until the issue had been solved, providing loaner vehicles and carrying out repairs at no cost.
Infiniti's system is among the most advanced steering systems on the roads, using three independent electronic control units to failsafe the all-electronic control as well as a mechanical clutch system to allow manual control should each ECU fail. In ordinary running, inputs at the steering wheel are interpreted by the primary ECU and their commands sent to the wheel. The system also uses cameras to make minor corrections itself within lanes, and can filter out the effects of rough pavement and uneven surfaces.
For further information you can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 1-888-327-4236 (reference recall campaign number 13V588000) or Infiniti at 1-800-662-6200.