Tesla Patents ‘Steer by Wire’ to Reduce Faults & Avoid Failures While Driving

Tesla filed a patent for “steer by wire” to reduce faults and avoid failures while driving. The invention relates to a steering system for a vehicle and is designed to replace the mechanical steering of a car.

Tesla works with an invention called “steer by wire”

At the end of 2022, Tesla filed a “Steer by wire” patent application. It describes a vehicle steering system by wire to control the lateral motion of the vehicle. According to the description, the system includes:

  • a steering wheel torque feedback actuator assembly with two controllers,
  • a front road wheel steering actuator assembly with two zonally isolated motors and controllers,
  • two separate power assemblies,
  • two separate vehicle communication networks in separate wiring bundle assemblies, and
  • three private system communication networks between each node in the steering system.

Tesla describes that “the redundant components are zonally isolated such that common cause of faults do not endanger the system when one or more of the components fails.” “Steer by wire” means that the steering impulses are transmitted to the wheels not through a mechanical connection, as usual, but electronically.


The traditional steering system uses a mechanical system to control the movement of the vehicle. It consists of many complex components, which makes it prone to various kinds of malfunctions and failures. At the same time, steer by wire avoids many faults by replacing the mechanical system with an electrical system. More specifically, mechanical links between the steering wheel and the road wheel can be substituted with electrical wires in a steer by wire system.

In addition, a steer by wire system can also improve the vehicle’s driving experience and maneuverability by allowing innovative features and designs. For example, “a steer by wire system allows flexible positioning of the hand wheel on the vehicle whereas a traditional steering system requires the hand wheel to be placed at a fixed location,” wrote Tesla.

Improvements still needed for a steer by wire system

Tesla mentions that a steer by wire system can still be prone to failure. This can occur when there are electrical faults or some other kind of fault (such as thermal, magnetic or mechanical faults). Therefore, the use of a mechanical system as a backup control system by wire remains relevant. However, the additional mechanical system can be costly and add weight to the vehicle and limit its capabilities.

Because of this, with the new invention, Tesla is trying to address the need for an improved steer by wire system to further reduce failure rates and provide redundancy in the event of a system failure. At the same time, the company strives to maintain the benefits of a steer by wire system.

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