Franklin, Tenn. — July 19, 2016 — Vehicle owners around the world could be affected by the new Nissan recalls affecting thousands of Infiniti vehicles.
Reuters reported on this new effort, which could affect vehicles in China and Canada as well as the U.S. A steering-related software glitch could reportedly trigger a malfunction, resulting in more difficult handling for drivers trying to use the adaptive steering functions.
At the time of this writing, few official details about the recall have been released. The manufacturer will include around 60,000 Q50 vehicles in the total from all impacted countries, as the company works to address the risk level.
Reuters spoke to Roland Krueger, president of Infiniti Motor Company, Ltd. and senior vice president of Nissan Motor Company, Ltd., about upcoming plans for new steering systems. Nissan and Infiniti apparently want to integrate autonomous driving functions at some point in the future.
“With this (steering) function, we can offer what we call partial autonomous drive already, so the car above approximately 60 kilometers per hour on the highway can be driven hands free,” Kreuger said.
While no remedy was listed, Autoblog guessed that the concern could require a software update at dealerships as the manufacturer starts notifying owners.
Previous recall: Occupation Classification System issues
It’s the most recent recall to affect the brand, months after an unrelated concern prompted a different action. On April 26, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted information about a wide-reaching Nissan recall concerning the Occupant Classification System. According to the Safety Recall Report, the OCS could potentially wrongly suppress the airbag by misidentifying whether a seat is occupied.
Although the report described this case as “rare,” it did say that the misclassification could stay in place until up to 13 seconds after the vehicle has stood stationary. The system could misread a seat occupied by an adult as either containing a child or not occupied at all. In the latter case, the Passenger Airbag Indicator light will not turn on, leaving owners with no way to determine if the glitch has occurred.
The preliminary information in this report said that 2.6 million vehicles were potentially involved in this recall. In addition to 2014-2016 Infiniti Q5 models, the action also included two other ranges of Infiniti models: the 2013 Infiniti JX35 and the 2014-2016 QX60.
Another Q50 recall for steering problems
Reuters also mentioned another recall including the Infiniti Q50, this one from 2013. Other NHTSA documents confirm that the company recalled 23 model year 2014 Q50 autos, also for an adaptive
The Defect Information Report on this action said that freezing temperatures could disrupt the normal flow of electrical current within the steering setup. Vehicle occupants could then be at higher risk of a crash, since the mechanical backup system would take longer than usual to engage.
Nissan’s investigations into this problem dated back to 2013, when it started identifying the possibly affected Q50 vehicles. Within six days, it had decided to submit a report to the NHTSA in response to the safety defect. A later Quarterly Report showed that all of the remedies for this recall were completed by Q2 of 2014.
The future of adaptive steering
Other manufacturers are paying attention to the future possibilities of adaptive steering. Last September, Ford announced that the 2016 Ford Edge would harness this technology for both low and high speeds.
The system is said to be housed in the steering wheel, a press release from the company said, though it also adjusts the turn ratio based on the vehicle’s speed and the current conditions. The maker’s Edge Sport and Titanium were slated to use this feature, as well as the Ford S-MAX and Galaxy in Europe, before expanding to other Ford brands.