How will we drive cars in the future?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Xmas, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. Xmas

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    So, while touchscreens are transforming the way we interact with handheld electronics, and motion controls being a big hit in video games, do you think the time has come to revolutionize the way we control another everyday item - the car?

    For a very long time now cars have had four or five basic drive controls: steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals, gear stick, and possibly a clutch pedal. Their design has been strongly influenced by mechanical requirements, and may seem a bit outdated in the electronic world of today. Of course there has been change: Steering and braking have become power assisted. There are various kinds of automatic transmissions, sequential shifting with paddles or a stick, and the clutch pedal is disappearing even from manual transmission cars.

    However, over the last three decades people have been driving cars with a wide range of controls - through virtual worlds. From electric steering wheels and pedals, various analog and digital sticks and pads, to keyboard, mouse, accelerometer, or touchscreen controls. Some clearly more suited for the task than others.

    Now, with the prospect of cars with electric drivetrains becoming affordable mass-market products in the foreseeable future, and electronic helpers getting more and more involved with actually driving a car, some of the reasons for the current design are changing. With regenerative braking, accelerating and braking are partly merging into the same system. There is no need for a reverse gear, and in fact electric cars often don't need more than a single gear. With that in mind, do we need more than one analog axis? Push forward to accelerate, pull back for negative acceleration - or reversing. Just like many racing games do.
    Steering might change, too. With wheelhub motors you could turn each wheel individually, allowing sideways parking or turning on the spot. That would essentially require separate "strafe" and turn controls.

    Now, drive-by-wire has not made it past concept cars yet, but it seems to me there are quite a number of innovations waiting to be put into real production cars. It seems to me it's not about if it will happen, but when.
     
  2. digitalwanderer

    digitalwanderer Dangerously Mirthful
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    Pagh, I still prefer a manual transmission vehicle. I don't think I want to change the controls of how to drive, I like 'em the way they are.
     
  3. homerdog

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    Right, what's wrong with the wheel and pedals? It's the best option IMO for accurate handling and speed control.

    Even if the need for multiple gears was eliminated I don't see anything wrong with a pedal system, one for forward and one for brake/reverse.

    'Strafe' controls would be cool. I don't see a need to integrate them into normal driving controls though. There could be a second control system to use in strafing situations (parking).
     
  4. Freak'n Big Panda

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    with our penis' of course.
     
  5. zed

    zed
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    yes + it will cut down no doubt drunk drivers (due to the effect of drunks unable'get it up')
    seriously Im still waiting for the car I was promised years ago where u get in it + tell it where to go + it optimally deposits u there whilst you are drinking your coffee + reading the paper.
    shit I havent even started on the 'flying car' promise
     
  6. Xmas

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    Oh, there's nothing wrong with them per se. But how do we know there's nothing better without even trying? Sometimes it's necessary to challenge preconceptions, or you end up with a suboptimal solution just because people are familiar with it. Take the QWERTY keyboard as an example.

    Maybe pedals are indeed ideal, but I don't think electric cars should try to mimic the pedal response of ICE cars.

    I prefer manual over automatic mostly because the automatics I've driven felt just a bit laggy. However I'd like it even better if there was no need to shift gears at all.
     
  7. rendezvous

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    We allready have cars that can detect a pocket to park in and to parallell park themselfs by only the push of a button.
     
  8. _xxx_

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    We won't drive at all in the future, the cars will be automatically guided.
     
  9. Simon F

    Simon F Tea maker
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    Then, to keep us occupied, we'll no doubt have in-car 3D games.... probably a driving simulation.
     
  10. chavvdarrr

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    not until there is no any manual-drivern car.

    /me starts counting : 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 ... you know it does irritate computers :lol:
     
  11. pcchen

    pcchen Moderator
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    That'd be great for those who like speeding but don't want to get speeding tickets! ;)
     
  12. _xxx_

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    We could already play them, our systems in the higher models (S-Class etc.) have your very own PowerVR chips of some sort inside IIRC. Used for 3-D view in the navigation and the fancy tacho display at the moment.

    The problem is that the law doesn't allow anything that distracts the driver, so only if the cars are guided with no need for a driver it will be possible.
     
  13. Mariner

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    Personally, I just want a car that can drive me home from the pub.
     
  14. tongue_of_colicab

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    That already exists. Its called a taxi.
     
  15. DudeMiester

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    I hope for computerized systems. Imho, the least reliable part of a car is the person driving it. Computers would be much better.
     
  16. Mariner

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    Let me rephrase:

     
  17. tongue_of_colicab

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    And a car with all that tech wont cost a fortune? well, in the long run ofcourse it doesnt have to cost much more than a modern car costs.
     
  18. Simon F

    Simon F Tea maker
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    Maybe, but a mate told me his car had "crashed" a couple of days ago ... meaning the computer.
     
  19. MfA

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    So? We settle for the illusion of control because we find human failure more palatable than computer/programmer failure?
     
  20. _xxx_

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    No wonder, knowing that some of them use Windows derivates.
     
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