- Drive-by-wire means that commands from the vehicle driver are no longer passed on to the relevant devices mechanically but electronically. The commands (e.g. steering or pushing on the accelerator) are received by sensors, processed by a computer, and then passed on to the relevant assemblies (e.g. the steering system, engine, transmission or brakes) via electric motors. Mechanical linkages like the steering rod and hydraulic brakes are not needed in drive-by-wire vehicles.