Honda "Drive by Wire" question... what if the power goes out?

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Hi there.
I have been looking at the new Honda Civic, it's pretty sweet, and the welds and everything are as nice as anything I have ever seen. I just
have a question about the "Drive by wire" system that they are supposed to have.
What happens if the Engine dies on you? In my current car, my timing chip went once and the engine went out. I had enough steering control left, even without power steering, to pull my car over before it came to a stop. If the drive by wire system has no "real" or active connection, how can it work if the engine or electronics quit on you? Are there any backups built into the system in case any of that stuff happens? And what if your battery dies and you need to push the car? Can you turn the steering wheel to adjust your wheels when you push the car?
Much thanks, sorry to bother.
David
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I have always gotten a laugh out of such a foolish system.
The way I understand it, basically if the power fails when you are at speed, you crash, just like on an airplane. I guess you could also put your head between your legs and kiss your ass good-bye like they do on planes too... ;-)
Mike 86/00 CJ7 Laredo, 33x9.5 BFG Muds, 'glass nose to tail in '00 88 Cherokee 235 BFG AT's Canadian Off Road Trips Photos: Non members can still view! Aug./05 http://www.imagestation.com/album/index.html?id !20343242 (More Off Road album links at bottom of the view page)
"David E. Powell" wrote:

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Mike Romain wrote:

Most of the fighter jets are fly-by-wire and they generally don't have problems with failures of this system. The fly-by-wire system is multiply redundant and rather expensive though. The main reason for it is the fact that it allows faster response and allows the computers to assist in stabilizing some inherently unstable aircraft designs.
In the auto world drive-by-wire would be constrained by the price points and the multiple redundancy would probably be sacrificed. At auto speeds the faster response of by-wire technology is not needed, so the only possible reason to use the more expensive technology would be to allow the computer to try to compensate for a drivers lack of skill.
Pete C.
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That would fit in this day-n-age of soccer-moms-driving-SUVs-with-a-phone-stuck-on-their-ear.
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The F-16 - Proof that even a brick will fly if you can cram a big enough engine into it...

Or more accurately phrased, to allow the computer to *ATTEMPT* to compensate for what it *PERCEIVES* as operator inability.
When I turn the steering wheel, the wheels better move correspondingly *EVERY* time. Not "just when the engine is on", not "When there's a charged battery installed", not "When the computer thinks that what I'm doing is OK", but *EVERY* *SINGLE* *TIME* *NO* *MATTER* *WHAT*. While I'm behind the wheel, I will accept *ABSOLUTELY NOTHING* less than *TOTAL*, godlike control of that vehicle, subject to *NO* influences outside of my own decisions and actions.
(By way of illustration, a few years ago in europe, a "fly by wire" plane decided it knew more than the pilots - Pilots said "We gotta hammer on the power and crank the bejeezus out of the controls so we can lift, or we're gonna crash!". Fly-by-wire system said "Sorry, you can't do that", and proceeded to "fix their mistakes" by throttling down and not permitting them to crank the control surfaces to the needed degree, which caused the plane to crash and burn. After something like that, I can't see *ANYBODY* with a functioning brain-cell wanting anything to do with getting into a machine that might decide at any time that what they're trying to do is "off limits".)
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Don Bruder wrote:

Indeed, one of the reasons I demand a manual transmission.

You're partly confusing two different things, the fly-by-wire i.e. no mechanical link, and an automated control system. Not really the same thing although the fly-by-wire makes implementing the automated control easier. If it's a simple electronic replacement for a mechanical link (with suitable redundancy) it's ok with me. Automated control trying to second guess my decisions based on far less sensory input than I have, is not ok with me.
The hydraulic steering on a lot of tractors and construction equipment that was noted by another poster is a good example of basic fly-by-wire or in this case fly-by-oil technology. It makes no attempt to second guess the operators decisions and simply replaces what could be a very complex mechanical linkage with a couple of nice flexible hoses.
The hydraulic brakes in cars is another even earlier example. Brake-by-oil basically, and we still require the mechanical cable operated backup system in addition to the split hydraulic redundancy. Of course in recent years they've added the automated control a.k.a. ABS to try to second guess the operator.
Pete C.

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Pete C. wrote:

This is a good example of who benefits & who is penalized, i.e., ABS undoubtedly saves more asses/lives than it costs.
I can understand why manufacturers would put automated vehicle stability on unstable vehicles like SUVs, same logic as above.
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Sparky Spartacus wrote:

Better driver training would save more lives and cost no additional lives, unlike failing ABS and airbags.

SUVs are *not* unstable by the wildest stretch of the imagination. Under any normal driving conditions they are as stable as anything else on the road. Under limited emergency conditions they can become unstable, just as a regular car can become unstable, when in the hands of an unskilled driver.
Note that a standard 80,000# tractor trailer has a significantly higher center of gravity than any SUV and you do not see them rolling over at anywhere near the rate of SUVs. This is because of better driver training. You of course do see semis rolled over, but the factor in the majority of those cases was not the higher COG, but rather the braking limitations of an 80,000# vehicle that has a pivot point 1/3 of the way down it's length.
Pete C.
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Pete C. wrote:

that's not correct pete. the dynamic that causes all the rollover problems in suv's is transition from a lean in one direction while turning in the other - a rapid s-bend. most suv's will flip. that's fundamental instability. it's been known about for ages, but the u.s., in typical response to lobbying pressure, chooses to test suv's in the one mode most are known to pass, the j-bend test. why is this? if you dig about in the nhtsa web site, you'll see the explanation - it's political - they can't impliment a test that would condemn a significant portion of vehicles in domestic production. you can bet your rear end that if this same test condemned imports, it would be implimented tomorrow.

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jim beam wrote:

That is exactly the same maneuver that results in cars rolling over as well. My point still stands. SUVs are *not* unstable, they simply have lower limits to that stability. Unskilled drivers will roll either, they just do it more often in an SUV since it's less forgiving of their lack of competence.

It's been known for ages that the typical driver has insufficient training. It's politics that prevent upgrading driver training and licensing standards. As with everything else, it is more palatable to blame an inanimate object or large corporation than to blame the person that actually caused the problem.
Pete C.

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Pete C. wrote:

<snip>
i disagree. while in an ideal world, driver training would be perfect, it's never going to be. go sit with my grandmother as she drives her crown vic. "why are you sweating? - the air conditioner's on max". no kidding grandma.
reality is, vehicles need to take account of the "average" driver. i personally dislike abs because it doesn't offer me choices on my braking limits. but for my grandmother, it's the /only/ way to go - there's no amount of driver training will /ever/ get her up to a standard that would ever allow her to steer out of a skid or have /any/ chance of fighting wheel lift in an suv. i therefore say that while /you/ may feel you can control an suv competently, it's unrealistic to expect everyone else to approach the standard necessary. the only responsible approach is [and i hate to say this] do what the europeans do and go for active stability control on suv's. that vehicle platform is just not capable of being "safe" without it.
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Pete C. wrote:

This is the finest hair I've ever seen split!
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jim beam wrote:

<coughBULLSHITcough>
Cite? Documentation? Reality check? Been consuming too much of your screen name?
"Most" SUVs will not flip unless they slide offroad, pull a tire off a rim, or clip a curb- same conditions that will flip a lot of cars. SUVs are more likely to flip in THOSE situations than are cars, but just swerving on a flat road? No way. You can slide most SUVs sideways without them rolling over.
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Pete C. wrote:

Can you point to any research that support this conclusion? I would be very interested to see it, since all the research I have seen supports the opposite conclusion: That driver training is ineffective at improving safety.
Please note that I am asking for references to actual peer reviewed research, not just opinion.
Here is a good place to start:
http://www.monash.edu.au/muarc/reports/muarc022.html http://www.monash.edu.au/muarc/reports/Other/peer.html
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Tell it to a bumblebee.
nb
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notbob wrote:

Huh?
(I'm aware that according to early engineering estimates bumblebees should not be able to fly)
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Why - your mention of a urban legend is just that: legend... http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/people/journals/aero/wellman/bumblebee.html
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[SNIP]

If you're talking about the Airbus A320 crash at Paris air show in 1988, http://www.linienmc.dk/video/crashplane/2-Airplane%20Crash%20A320.mpeg the cause of it is still being disputed.
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snipped-for-privacy@noknown.domain (Jan Kalin) wrote:

No, I don't think it was the airbus. In fact, if it was 1988, then it COLDN'T have been, since the one I'm thinking of happened sometime in the mid-to-late '90s. Something in my memory is saying it was a newer, "exotic" type - maybe that VTOL bird that the Marines keep crashing? I plain forget what kind of aircraft it was, though. I'll have to ask my landlord (works for the FAA, and has a "morbid interest" streak when it comes to oddball crashes) if he recalls it so that I can "zero in" on the exact incident.
I do recall hearing snippets from cockpit recorder tapes on the nightly news that clearly revealed that the pilots were "freaking" (albeit very calmly, as pilots are wont to do) because the plane wouldn't let them do what needed to be done. I believe the cockpit-to-tower chatter was also pretty clear that they were trying like hell to do what was needed as they went down, but the plane wasn't responding to it.
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Jan Kalin wrote:

There were two other situations- one merely an incident that was overcome and the plane landed safely, and another in the Alps that did result in a fatal crash, that were blamed on the fly-by-wire.
The problem was not the idea of FBW by itself, but the poor implementation of it by Airbus. The problem was in requiring pilot to fix a problem, or change modes, by typing in numbers and settings on a keypad, which is not an instinctive response of a pilot. There was no simple way to disable computers and fly by command inputs only.
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