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November 28th, 2001

Joystick Cars

At the Chicago Auto Show roughly four years ago, Mercedes showed off a rather nifty looking car, focusing on the ordinarily boring topic of safety. (Yes, I realize safety is important, but I can’t get too too excited about airbags.) Not only did this car have transparent C-pillars, but it also had joystick control. Two joysticks were used in place of the steering wheel: one on the door, and one in place of the gear shift.

Don’t take my word for it. Check it out. It’s an interesting concept, but given how badly people drive with a wheel, I don’t think we can trust ’em with two Suncom joysticks from 1994. -pm

Posted in Cars

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday November 28, 2001 -- 12:27:21AM
This reminds me of two things:

1. Johnny Cab

2. South Park's version of IT (the image links don't seem to work yet).

FROM: Robert
DATE: Wednesday November 28, 2001 -- 12:40:55AM
The IT in that episode of South Park puts the "joy" in "joystick".

FROM: Matt
DATE: Wednesday November 28, 2001 -- 12:48:40AM
They should just equip cars with oil-slick and smoke-screen like Spy Hunter. No need to waste time on things like this.

FROM: Chris
DATE: Wednesday November 28, 2001 -- 8:30:06AM
Apparently Matt doesn't drive on the Capitol Beltway. Cars that are producing oil slicks and smokescreens are in abundance.

FROM: fresh
DATE: Wednesday November 28, 2001 -- 11:55:43AM
forget safety if anyone has read farrhenheit 451 they know that in the future maufactures dont care about safety in fact every car in that book was a VW bug

FROM: mel
DATE: Thursday November 29, 2001 -- 1:20:50AM
Yeah, because Farenheit 451 was meant to be an accurate prediction of the future, not a symbolic, better-learn-your-lesson-or-else type book.

FROM: Logic 3:16
DATE: Sunday October 13, 2002 -- 1:24:06 am
Sheesh. I remember ever since the 1950s, Chrysler has been trying to abolish the steering wheel.

Replacing the steering wheel with a joystick has got to be the DUMBEST idea in automotive engineering I've ever seen. How are you supposed to steer if the engine stalls? With todays cars, even without power-assist from the engine you can still turn the front wheels (albeit with more difficulty) because the steering wheel always has direct mechanical control over them. But if the engine or electrical power ever fails in this proposed automobile, the joystick will be rendered totally useless and the driver could be killed. Even if engines were made a 1,000 times more reliable, this would still be an inherently unsafe design.

FROM: John
DATE: Wednesday October 22, 2003 -- 10:40:04 pm
I think that joystick steering is the coolest thing going. With the technology of today and the future, the safety factor will be nill. Look how long the F-16 has been flying by wire. You can't stop the future.

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 3:55:42 pm

Josh April 14, 2008, 5:03 pm

Going along with what “Logic 3:16” input, I believe that if the engine was to simply give out, the joystick would be useless. But what if the two ideas could be combined? A mechanical switch between the two (joy-stick and steering wheel) could be implemented. Then even if the engine did fail, it would take the flip of a switch to be able to steer yourself to safety manually. But where would the two go? Sure you could keep the joystick on the door… But logically, the point would be to rid of the bulk in the driver’s seat anyways — The wheel. There are always complications, followed by contemplation, idealistic thoughts, more logical thoughts, and finally issues of marketing. We will see a difference in this technology, being 2008, soon. If not… who’s to say someone as simple as I couldn’t try something?

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