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Rationalised car controls

About time.
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The current layout of vehicle controls leaves much to be desired. It has evolved rather than being designed.

Adaptations exist for steering a car with a foot or feet. These are designed primarily for those with disabilities.

BorgCo engineers are developing a more rational layout for general use.

Steering is controlled by a pair of linked foot pedals. Push with the right foot, turn to the right, and vice-versa, just like a light aircraft. The system is die-by-wire, with the pedals linked to potentiometers and the steering shaft being rotated by a geared stepper motor with position feedback from an optical rotary encoder. There is a visual indication of steering position. As vehicle speed increases, so the sensetivity of the pedals is automatically decreased.

The steering rack and power assist are standard units.

Using an automatic transmission, acceleration and braking are combined in a single side lever; push forward to go faster, pull back to brake. A cruise control is incorporated into the top of the lever.

This leaves one hand free to operate all other controls, or any other activity the driver wishes to perform.

In an accident, there is no steering wheel for the driver to impact.

In the right road and traffic conditions and with the cruise control operating, the driver would have both hands free for the greater part of the time.

The design is particularly well-suited to PHEV or all-electric drivetrain vehicles.

8th of 7, May 11 2016

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       //Push with the right foot, turn to the right, and vice-versa, just like a light aircraft.//   

       What about push off the left, go right, like handlebars, or rollerblades, or walking ?
FlyingToaster, May 11 2016
  

       I'm with [FlyingToaster]; push with left foot to go right. Plane rudder pedals are backwards.
Other than that, I've been thinking along the same lines myself, for the electric vehicle I'm designing (very slowly because life gets in the way...).
Except I prefer 'throttle position correlates to vehicle speed', rather than vehicle acceleration as you have. Allows faster changes to input.
neutrinos_shadow, May 11 2016
  

       // What about push off the left, go right, //   

       That would make it confusing for pilots, and it makes no difference to non-pilots as they are learning a new technique anyway.
8th of 7, May 12 2016
  

       I'd prefer steering to be done by sensing the extent to which the driver is leaning to the left or to the right in their seat. This could be done by buttock-pressure-sensors in the seat.
hippo, May 12 2016
  

       // voice control //   

       Ah, the special "assisted suicide" control system … no doubt Mitsubishi will be first to market with that. Supplied with the car is an instruction book, a katana, a flask of sake, and a white cloth headband with the Rising Sun symbol on it.   

       It has a unique navigational system - just shout "BANZAI !"l as loudly as you can, and the car steers at full speed towards the nearest Allied aircraft carrier.
8th of 7, May 12 2016
  

       Voice control would limit the subject matter of radio-based dramas one might be able to listen to in the car without crashing.
hippo, May 12 2016
  

       I'm really surprised no one has suggested a Theremin-style control interface, where you wave your hands around in an electric field to command the car to go and stop, and turn left and right.
hippo, May 12 2016
  

       They tried it just once.   

       Wasp got in the car.   

       Didn't end well.
8th of 7, May 12 2016
  

       [Ian Tindale], I suspect you're thinking of the time a BEE got in. The wasp was an entirely different matter...
neutrinos_shadow, May 12 2016
  

       So, would it be wrong to let your legs cross over when making a tight turn?
MaxwellBuchanan, May 12 2016
  

       Cars will be driving themselves around soon, with few owners but many subscribers. No drivers necessary.
RayfordSteele, May 12 2016
  
      
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