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Deleting antique controls

When will we see the end of the ICE 1910 control system? A simple joy stick could easily replace the steering wheel, gas peddle, and brake peddle. Now with autonomous driving and smart computer control seems like it would be a natural.
Got to be safer then a weight on your key locking the steering and disabling the engine and brakes.

Because a joy stick is great in airplane where most strong acceleration is vertical, along axis of joystick, and LOUSY in a car where lateral acceleration, as well as braking and (in a model s anyway) forward acceleration, would induce control inputs.

Also how would cruise control work?

Ask yourself why you're still typing on a QWERTY keyboard, even on your smart phone.

Joystick controls have been tried many times for cars. They don't work well at all, which is why you will never see one in a production automobile.

Think of how many times you turn a steering wheel to go from full left lock to full right lock. Now think about encapsulating that entire range of movement in a 90 degree arc. Now think about turning a corner while trying to modulate the throttle and brake with the same control, wherein the tiniest twitch of your hand has a dramatic effect.

That's why cars don't have joysticks.

EcLectric you hit the nail on the head, it is convention, not that it don't work. Maybe we will jump directly to the helmet that picks up your thoughts and you have no controls. Maybe just talk to it like your iPhone. Tell a Blackhawk pilot it don't work, he just looks at what he wants to shoot.

The blackhawk pilot does not fly with a joystick alone.

Helicopters use stick in one hand for roll and pitch.

The pilot holds the collective in the other hand lifting it to increase blade pitch and twisting it to increase throttle.

The pilot has rudder pedals for yaw.

The Blackhawk pilot also has hats and triggers on the stick to operate weapons.

It is not easy to fly a helicopter (I have) nor is it intuitive. It takes a lot of training and practice... and they don't fly in formation.

You will never see a joystick controlled ground vehicle.

Your joystick rant has nothing to do with what I refer, the gun points to where you are looking. Your car can do the same. Need not be a joy stick .
I have flown helicopter so am familiar with controls, My 1946 Luscombe fixed wing uses sticks, that kind of stick would not work in a car, but a console that your arm sits in you could control the car with finger pressure, twist stick, or joy stick.

Possible I suppose. Hard to pick up your coffee though- would have to be right arm.

Luscombe. You are a lucky man. Beautiful airplane.

I was hoping to stir up some visionaries on this site. There is no reason electric cars need to be controlled the conventional way except for convention. We have come part way with single pedal driving, lift your foot off gas and car slows, (regen braking).

Regarding Luscombe, I have a rare 1948 Luscombe 11A Sedan that I will not live long enough to finish the restore. Plus I need to locate funds for Tesla MX due next year.

I say use an XBOX controller.

(or Playstation)
(Or Wii)

...MIB II. . .

A wheel gives you much more control than a stick in a car.

The wheel uses mechanical advantage to give you a LOT more travel for a fine adjustment of the steering rack. If you used a stick, which has at best a 60-degree range of movement in any direction, when you hit the slightest bump, it would cause your arm's momentum to jostle the steering drastically. This would mean a total loss of control as the fine adjustments needed to correct the course of the car would be near impossible with such a short range of movement on the stick.

You see the same thing when you compare controls for first-person shooter video games. The one game I have ever seen where computer users were able to directly compete with console gamers was Unreal 3. Sony shut down the cross-platform gaming so quick few even knew it was available, because all of the computer gamers with the mouse-and-keyboard controls had such fine control over their aim with the long-throw of a mouse, compared to the miniscule throw of a controller's analogue stick, that the console gamers were getting trounced.

You need to choose the proper controls for the application. In the case of aircraft, where the compression of the air around your wings, flaps, rotors, etc. gives you a nice cushioned buffer to avoid a quick jostle of the stick throwing your vehicle completely out of control. In a car, where your steering systems are based off of two solid objects pushing against each other, the tiniest mistake can have catastrophic results. They make up for this by increasing the travel of your arms to represent a fine adjustment of the steering, something that simply can't be done with a stick.

@Haeze So your saying autonomous driving is a hoax and will never happen?

The mouse & keyboard thing with PC Games is just like the gasoline & diesel thing with ICE vehicles. Each is the best implementation of a flawed strategy that is accepted due to their being ubiquitous. That said, I have no problem with a steering wheel, a go pedal, and a stay right here pedal. Works for me!

Bulldozers and other heavy equipment operate well on joysticks alone.

Software could modify the sensitivity relative to speed of the car, so when you're on the highway at 70 mph, it takes more stick movement to change steering direction.

Are there laws that require a steering wheel and pedals for control?

I am surprised that the pilots here haven't mentioned that when planes are on the ground, they use a "tiller", sort of a small steering wheel, to turn the aircraft's front gear. At least the 3 different airframes I worked on in the Air Force did.

"The mouse & keyboard thing with PC Games is just like the gasoline & diesel thing with ICE vehicles. Each is the best implementation of a flawed strategy that is accepted due to their being ubiquitous"

That and there's literally no better alternative to a mouse and keyboard in terms of accuracy. I think the same is true for the steering wheel, is not a solution, but it's better than any other.

I think accelerator and deccelerator pedals are very good. You can't get much similar than that, if simplicity is any indicator of good product design. Of course Tesla's one-pedal driving is even simpler than that...so maybe that is better!

I was hoping to stir up some visionaries on this site. There is no reason electric cars need to be controlled the conventional way except for convention.

Sure there is: because it works really well.

Early cars used a variety of control systems: tillers, for example. The steering wheel was an innovation, and brake/accelerator pedals didn't come along until much later, as anyone who's ever driven a Model T will know.

The current system is the result of close to a century of refinement. Nobody's come up with anything better yet, although refinements like variable-ratio power steering and anti-lock brakes have been added.

You don't "stir up visionaries" by proposing ideas that have been tried, and failed, multiple times...unless you personally have some new take on the idea.

Steering wheel is very precise and allows control using both hands in multiple positions if you hand gets tired. It's very hard to make anything better than that. Legs for acceleration/deceleration is also very intuitive and allows your brain to use different part for it making things safer.

Wow, who knew Ars Technica reads this blog? :)

I totally disagree that the steering wheel is the best way to control the modern electric car. It is obstructive, (dangerous) intrusive into drivers space, requires a lot of space, and constant monitoring (holding arms up). The problem is no manufacture is willing to take a chance on retraining millions of drivers.
I have been a basic flight instructor for years. As most of you know the directional control of aircraft is controlled with your feet. My biggest challenge has been to try to break students from steering with the yoke which looks like a steering wheel. The older the student the longer it takes. If the aircraft is equipped with a stick the transition time is less. (doesn't feel like a steering wheel). Old habits are hard to break.
I love driving our electric car (Volt) with single peddle only, use the brake in emergence or the last 5mph during a stop. My wife does not use regenitive braking, she likes driving conventional. I can't wait to see what the MX will be like.

You are a CFI? I hope you are not teaching people to fly with just rudder and no

And no aileron

Why would you hope that. It is easy to fly without ailerons, nearly impossible to fly without rudder.

The steering wheel isn't necessarily the best way; it's just way better than a joystick.

Interesting article on this...

Large airplanes only use rudder for engine out maneuvers. Transport category pilots fly feet on floor. Banking an airplane with just rudder risks spin at low speed. Ailerons are for roll. Rudder is for yaw. Talk to your FSDO.

@ Dramsey good article pretty much what I expected, there may even be better ways now as some of those were 1996.

@ DTsea some aircraft have coupled controls such as the Aircoupe. The FAA sent me a pilot for more training because he answered a simple question wrong. What turns the airplane? Do you know?

Solarwind, you are intractable in your thinking!

However, your comparisons of controlling a fixed-wing aircraft to an automobile are not valid. They are not used in similar situations. Automobiles are driven in heavy traffic, with cars going parallel, cars crossing, cars merging, cars oncoming at speeds up to 80 MPH or so. Cars must stay on the paved roadways. Planes generally have unfettered access to the skies, as long as they stay at their appropriate altitude. Yes, planes and jets travel much faster, but I have yet to see an airplane highway with hundreds of planes flying along side me, flying towards me, and crossing me.

Just about anyone with a pulse can get a driver license and buy a car. Licensing pilots is a much more serious and technical undertaking, and the costs with flying are significantly more prohibitive than driving a car. Generally, those who fly are probably more intelligent and more responsible than many automobile drivers.

Finally, with a steering wheel, if the driver is adjusting the cooling system, or the radio, or any other mildly distracting activity and a perceived emergency arises, he/she still has one hand on the steering wheel. If the joystick were in the center console, precious time could be lost by the time he reacts and moves his hand to the stick and processes the information to make the appropriate maneuver.

While I admire your creativity, there are just too many variables in controlling an automobile that could not be managed by a high percentage of drivers out there!

And yes I do know what turns an airplane. It is rotation of the lift vector by banking.

Note I have instrument pilot and glider ratings and bachelor's and master's in aerospace engineering. So I have a reasonable familiarity with airplanes.

I believe the Ercoupe (not aircoupe) was the last airplane with mechanically coupled aileron and rudder, intended to simplify coordinated turns.

@ DTsea That is very good! The answer is Lift or more accurate, Vectored Lift. Don't know if I have seen the rotation word used but obviously there is rotation. That simple question is one every pilot should know but often forgets. Thanks for correcting me on Ercoupe, I am old and forgetful but I never could spell.


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