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Spaceship Controls?

Discussion in 'Design' started by Marc Perkel, Apr 22, 2016.

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  1. Marc Perkel

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    Elon said

    “Wait until you see the real steering controls and system for the 3. It feels like a spaceship.”


    So - what does that mean? I'll let my imagination run wild here and speculate the possibilities. Thinking outside the box.

    First, a spaceship doesn't have a steering wheel. It's controlled by hand grips, a joystick if you will. Imagine a seat with armrests and joystick like controls and no steering wheel. steering left and right is done through tilting the joystick left and right.

    Throttle and braking is forward and backwards. Or perhaps it's by squeezing a trigger. Possibly have pedals too for those who like pedals but might not be necessary. Great for the handicapped. Or maybe tilting forward and back controls forward and reverse?

    With no steering wheel the current 15" display is replaced by a center touch screen in front of the driver where all the information and controls are. (see pic of SpaceX Dragon display) The traditional gauges are gone as there is no longer a need for gauges. Traditional gauges are, speedometer, tachometer, gas, charge, temperature, oil pressure - all obsolete except for speedometer, which is now digital.

    These are all replaced with energy monitoring, sensor displays showing where other cars are. Why use side mirrors when cameras can be displayed on the screen as well. Navigation information, music controls, environmental controls, settings, hands free calling, texting, email, etc. And all this right in from of you so your eyes never leave the road.

    So - if you start out by forgetting everything you know about cars and think in terms of starting from scratch and redesign everything - what would you do?
     
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    • thecatdad

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      Personally I wouldn't mind the paradigm shift to joystick controls. If it's well done it can be achieved safely. I still like pedals, as using one's feet in tandem with his hands is an efficient enough use of coordination and available appendages. It would be pretty sweet to build a mass market car that is more accessible to physically limited individuals.

      I'd like to see a joystick with the armrest and a trackpad-esque control on the other side that would navigate your HUD in front of your face. Imagine being able to pinch-to-zoom your speedometer for easier viewing or radio or temperature controls for more precise manipulation. I'd like the flexibility of being able to rearrange your HUD by dragging and dropping "widgets" to achieve the best experience for each individual.
       
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      • TrevP

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        Tesla won't be doing joysticks in the Model 3. It will have a wheel like every other car. However what they add in terms of controls to the wheel and perhaps a HUD of some form to enhance the centre screen remains to be seen.

        Tesla operates in secrecy so it's easy to conjecture things to fill in the void but all things being equal, they want to do something cool but don't expect Jetson's type stuff. This is a mass market car that must have mass market appeal but walking a fine line between comfortable and avant-garde is quite difficult.

        I'm very confident they will surprise and delight us but only as long as we keep our expectations in check and not take flights of fantasy.
         
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        • thecatdad

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          I'm pretty sure this thread's sole existence was to take flights of fancy...
           
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          • Les Inanchy

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            I think the steering wheel, or some variation, will be with us for some time. However, as we move towards self driving cars, there may be a way to make the transition away from the wheel easier. If you saw the movie iRobot with Will Smith, he drove a self driving Audi of the future. It had a yoke style wheel which would fold down and retract into the dashboard in auto mode, and then extend and tilt back upright for manual mode. I think this is something that most people could live with!
             
          • CliffClaven

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            image.jpeg My guess is that it will look something like K.I.T.T.'s steering wheel :)
             
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            • Thalass

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              One advantage a joystick would have is that if it was centre mounted (between the driver and passenger) they wouldn't have to do anything to sell a RHD version. Maybe change the grip to a left handed one. Especially if the hud was on both sides of the windscreen.
               
            • TrevP

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              #8 TrevP, May 20, 2016
              Last edited: May 21, 2016
              The more I think about Elon's comments both present and past, along with Tesla's historical changes of the interiors from prototypes to production cars the more I think we're going to see something game changing and spectacular.

              Given we're on the cusp of self driving cars and that Tesla considers autopilot as a tent pole feature and something that puts them ahead of the competition, the more I believe they decided Model 3 was an opportunity to rethink vehicle controls and systems given they won't redesign this car for at least 6-7 years.

              Since they started with a clean slate they have the chance to design the controls and systems to reflect a monumental change in the way we interact with cars. The spaceship comments really indicate they're "thinking different" for production cars much like everyone else plays lip service their their concept cars.

              I'm not talking about removing the steering wheel, as many are apt to conclude, but really enhance the way things are displayed to the driver. If you take autonomy into consideration what does one really need to see? Is speed really relevant if the car is driving itself and obeying the laws within set limits? In autonomous mode as a passenger in control of sorts, I'd like to see what the car's systems are seeing plus the navigation system. The current Model S driver console I think is a good indicator of what they could focus on. The speed has been reduced to just a number but the display of the road and surrounding cars are now front and centre.

              Take it to the next level and have this information reflected into the windshield with augmented reality and you satisfy both display needs and the HUD aficionados. The guys at Porsche with the mission e did holographic displays in the dash. Tesla hired one of those guys on that team. They hired the guy from Skully systems too.

              I think a plain HUD isn't thinking far enough ahead. Elon likes to make his creations look like the books he read as a kid. A twenty first century car should look like a twenty first century car, at least the interior should now that the robot overlords are taking over some driving duties.
               
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              • garsh

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                Agreed. Something similar to this (starts at 3m37s):
                 
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                • Skione65

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                  Nice 'looking' tho I'm a "12 O' Clock" hand position driver with my hand resting up there, as well as a "Six" and sometimes 10/2 or 4/8.... Like the option of 'variance' especially on long road trips.....not too many options with that kitt wheel. It would drive me nuts......open to options but love the tried and true standard.....

                  Don't really mind the 'kidney bean' shape of the reveal or test drive models.

                  Ski
                   
                • TrevP

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                  Yes, very much like this.
                   
                • TrevP

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                  The problem with concept car wheels and KITT types where they look like aircraft yokes with cutouts is that they're not practical for cars where you need easy contact to turn the wheel several turns either way in a parking situation.

                  Flat bottoms are ok like the Model S but cutouts just don't work in real life. They're ok on aircraft but really have no place in a car in my opinion.
                   
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                  • Michel Cote

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                    Depend on steering ratio and feedback.
                    Go kart have around +/- 60deg lock to lock and after a minute or so you are ok.
                    I think that we can adapt to many thing IF we want. The thing is that as soon as it's different we think it does not work.
                    But we have to really try for a while before beeing able to say it works or not.
                    There would be a steep learning curve with a joystick. but I forgot about car video games that use them.
                     
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                    • John

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                      I think that the minimalist dash either means that:
                      1. the entire windshield is in play, or
                      2. there will be a Porsche-style binacle panel placed behind the steering wheel, so that it can be mounted for left- or right-hand drive.
                      The binacle display in the Model S is nicely done, but it's relatively small.
                      Imagine car images in the corners of the windshield to indicate company in the adjoining lanes. Imagine they flash red when the car is coming up on you, and green when there is room to change lanes.
                      Imagine a translucent speed "just below" wherever you look, and very bright when you glance towards the dash. Ditto for turn-by-turn nav.
                       
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                      • John

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                        Actually, the eye-tracking might be more trouble than it's worth (sun glasses, etc). But displays the length of the dash would be cool (either projected or one long display).
                         
                      • TrevP

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                        #16 TrevP, May 28, 2016
                        Last edited: May 31, 2016
                        I don't think they will do eye tracking.

                        I suspect with an augmented HUD there will be a short calibration process per driver than is stored in their profile.
                         
                      • Badback

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                        If the display were to fill the entire windshield, would not some the source(s) have to be on the passenger side? It is, after all, a reflection.
                         
                      • TrevP

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                        Not necessarily. A projection only really has to be in the field of view of the driver side.
                         
                      • Badback

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                        #19 Badback, May 31, 2016
                        Last edited: May 31, 2016
                        A projection must be projected onto something. Think movie screen. If that something is the inside of the windshield, then we are talking about a reflection off of a shiny surface. The angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence either side of a perpendicular to the surface. Light originating from the drivers side onto the passenger side of the windshield would wind up somewhere on the passenger side window.

                        If, however you mean that the image reflected to the driver can APPEAR to come from the passenger side of the windshield, then yes, that is possible. But even in expensive military aircraft HUDs, that wide a field of view is not possible. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head-up_display#Design_factors

                        Distortion from compound curvature of the glass can be corrected in software, but windshields are not normally made with great precision if cost is a factor.

                        So, I think that if a HUD is implemented it will be a relatively narrow FOV.
                         

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