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Replace my car steering wheel with my xBox controller? Answered

Could it be done? Should it be done? and would that be taking my gaming obsession too far? Would L and R be for gear changes or indicators? Suggestions for button functions welcome.


Mercedes was experimenting with Drive by wire. They supposedly had it working but the NTSB still requires a physical steering column and mechanical connections to brake and gas (its been a few years so who knows if this has changed). Supposedly the car was great to drive because there was no vibration to your foot or through the steering column so you are very isolated from road/engine noise. To be honest ever since the Playstation came out I wanted one of those controllers as a steering wheel, not sure why.

I was thinking about this because my eye-foot coordination isn't as good as my eye-hand coordination. I think it would make driving a lot less frightening for gamers.

In high school autos class we had a go-cart that was controlled by a radio controller. The cart had servos for the gas, brakes, and steering. I know using a controller is possible to accomplish. The hardest part would be the wireless receiver for the xbox controller. Using R.C. would be easier.

That's like using locking pliers as a steering wheel, although, i guess if you didn't have anything else.

In short, this would be difficult, possibly dangerous, and also probably taking it to far...

If you are talking about controlling the car with the controller functions (joystick, etc.) then you're in for a lot of work. I don't know if it would necessarily be legal to drive a car like that, but I don't know the specifics of that. That said, I think it would be awesome. I would recommend a similar system as some of the racing games use, Forza Motorsport, for example. Left Trigger would be brake, Right Trigger for accelerator (that way you could get rid of the pedals). The triggers are pressure sensitive so you could probably attach them to servos that would control the respective functions. Right and Left Bumpers (if you're using a 360 Controller) could be left/right signals. You could, in theory, use the joystick to steer. However, due to the relatively small sweep angle of the joystick, smooth movement in turns might be difficult (especially given the g-forces your body/hands are subject to in a real car). But that aside, you could probably hook up some kind of system to interface with your power steering that drives a motor to change the angle of the front wheels. From there, you have one joystick, a d-pad, and four buttons left (not counting start/back and the Xbox Guide buttons). For the D-Pad, my suggestion would be to use that as a control for the mirrors in combination with the right joystick. For example, if you need to move the driver's side mirror, you should be able to push the d-pad left and, while holding it, move the joystick to adjust. Right could move the passenger-side mirror, and up could move the rear-view. If you had something like it, you could even use down to adjust the rear-bumper camera. I would say that you should use something like the Right Joystick click for the horn. It's out of the way enough that you won't just push it by accident, but easy to get to if you need it. The buttons could be programmed for various things. If you have Bluetooth enabled, you could use Y to answer/hang up a call, or something like that. Or wire them so that they change stations on the radio (X and B would be perfect for that), or maybe change the volume. Oh! You could have Y and A move volume up/down, and X and B change stations/songs. That's all I can really think of for the buttons. If there's other functions you have/want, you can think about those for the Start and Back buttons. I think the best thing to do with the Xbox guide button would be a push-start ignition, because that would be awesome. So now that you have all these ideas, you just have to figure out if you can do it (both physically and legally, heh). In any case, good luck and if you do it, I want to see the result!

Where do i start?
Using a relatively soft plastic in place of a steel steering wheel.. the problems seem obvious. If it snaps or breaks in any fashion you've just lost control of your car (pun intended).

Let's just assume you were able to get around that problem somehow, like with a steel controller or something. Your car would be really difficult to turn, with such a small object to grip and steer your hands will be sore pretty quick.

Maybe mount it directly on your steering wheel, and integrate the triggers and buttons on the wheel? Funny idea, you must be a hardcore gamer.