When is a car company going to finally re-design the steering wheel in a car?

We've been using the same thing for too long.   You would think that by now we wouldn't have to hold our arms up and grab a big wheel in front of us to steer our cars.   I want to see a manufacturer design a steering system that is up to date with the rest of the car.  I imagine relaxing with my arms on the arms of the chair and the controls for the vehicle right at your palms.

I will gladly admit that there are a lot of people out there that could not handle a car that was even a little bit more complex because they can't handle a car now. 

You might ask "Why fix what isn't broken?"   Why make cars faster?  Why use GPS if maps work fine?  Because it makes stuff easier.

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Grathio7 years ago
Steering wheels are excelent because they provide a few features that fly-by-wire systems don't.  The primary one is that in the case of complete power failure or computer system barf, the vehicle is still controllable. This is pretty vital if you're traveling down the road at 70 MPH.

Another advantage that a steering wheel has over most fly by wire systems is that you can take y our hand off for a moment and everything won't go to hell.  Take your hand off a flight stick and it will either center its self or sag. Grabbing hold of the stick again takes a lot of care not to disrupt the course.  A steering wheel on the other hand can be let go and grabbed without causing any deviation in course.

A third advantage is that they provide a great range of precision.  You can make easily small adjustments at highway speeds, and you can easily crank it around to get in that parking spot.   A stick that relies on roughly 90 degrees of wrist movement can't get anywhere near that.  And while it can be made more flexible with complex programming that takes into account speed, there are still huge problems with control when accelerating or decelerating.

Oh, and they're cheaper too.
FrozenIce5 years ago
well, the way ur thinking about it, we have been using wheels on cars for too long.. why? because the concept works. if something is fully functional, why change it?
Wow lay off the Stargate man (refers to the Al Kesh) .  The reason that we still use steering wheels is because we can not "perfect" a system of what your talking about. Besides the Steering Wheel may not look like it has changed but under the dash and hood every car made after around 2003 or so has hydraulic steering or at least hydro-asist. There has been many improvements to steering since the first rack and pin system.

Just give us ( the mechanical engineers and mechanical engineers) a few more years.
The mechanical engineers and future* mechanical engineers

fixes the last line
Haha!  I've only seen like three Stargate episodes so I don't know what you are referring to.   Power steering has been a huge improvement though!  =9
lemonie7 years ago
You are imaging driving a car like in a video game? Well, in the real world, if you fumble the controls you tend to really break things, really kill or injure people.

GPS might make things easier, but plenty of people end up in the wrong place (i.e. on an unpassable road) because they were immersed in the artificial GPS map instead of looking where they were actually driving...

L
Bisquick the ninja (author)  lemonie7 years ago
I hate video games and I respect peoples lives and property   =9    And yes GPS is not anywhere near perfect...yet
I meant that wired-controls are dangerous, you can accidentally crash while still having respect for things.
In a plane you've got a lot more space to manouver, things are too tight on the road.

L
Bisquick the ninja (author)  lemonie7 years ago
Very true,I cannot imagine trying to drive in England or some European country where the streets can get really small.
Oh yes, they can get very tight where I live.

L
Kiteman7 years ago
You want drive-by-wire.  That's only available in prototypes at the moment.

The steering wheel is mechanically linked to the wheels.  Try turning the wheel by twisting the centre of the wheel - that's why you don't have a joystick on a normal car.



Bisquick the ninja (author)  Kiteman7 years ago
That is very true! 
Even a power steered car can still move the front wheels in extremis with that damned steering wheel: keep that interaction, and a new system might work.
DJ Radio7 years ago
If we were that lazy as to do that in a car, we'd be lazy enough to not pay attention to the road, and we'd all wreck.
I remember seeing a car company experiment with arcade style gamepads (you know the big sticks you can move back and forth and left to right)

But I can't remember which one it was...

And I don't know if you watch top gear but those guys had one episode where they made a car that was rebuild to an RC. And it worked pretty fine (although the inside looked a little messier but nothing that can't be built in) so that would be possible to.

But the main concern of the car company's is getting there new car sold. Because every individual is on it's own very experimentive, trying new stuff seeing if that makes it easier but when you put a bunch of people together stuffi goes slower. Some people will like the new system and others will hate it. Others will find the idea interesting but stick with what they know and so on.

Point  being. If a car company brings out a new steeringsystem without a steering wheel many people will hesitate to buy a car like that since a car is a big expense (a new ipod with new controls is fairly cheap in comparrison to a car) so the people will hesitate and only a small number  will actually buy the car. And as you know, small numbers aren't commonly associated with big car enterprises so they will not do it untill every car company does it.

Just my two cents...
Re-design7 years ago
Several companies have worked on other systems.  Chrysler tried two small wheels that one would hold in each hand or just drive with one hand on one.  It had a thumb hole for fast steering.  Several working concept cars have come out with "F-16" type joystick steering sort of a drive by wire system.

The problem with changing from the steering wheel is that anybody that drives a car can use one.  So if you loan your car to someone else you don't have to teach them to use different type of steering.

The difference in a new type of steering and gps is that if I borrow your car tomorrow I don't have to know how to use your gps but I must absolutely be able to steer the car.

I think changing the steering from a traditional wheel is a bad idea.

But you are free to change the one you have in your car all you want.