I enjoy driving and showing my customers the beautiful scenery, beaches and properties in Southwest Florida. Sometimes I can drive hundreds of miles in a week, from Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda to Rotonda and Englewood Beach, Boca Grande and north to Venice, Sarasota and Bradenton. I even get to Tampa, St. Pete and Clearwater at times. During the summer I often drive for my vacation to our home in New Hampshire.
Needless to say, even for one who enjoys a drive, this can get tiring. When my hands hang on the steering wheel for hours at a time my arms, back and shoulders can begin to ache. It seems to me, with advances in technology, that the steering wheel has become unnecessary. It is about time that a motor vehicle manufacturer introduce a car with joystick steering.
I know, many of you will laugh, but the technology exists. If an ocean going vessel can be driven with a joystick, why not an automobile? It would be much more comfortable than a steering wheel. One could relax as if in an armchair. It would eliminate the steering wheel that could crush a diver in an accident and the air bag would be in the dash like on the passenger side. Instruments would be much easier to read with displays unobstructed.
One person I discussed this with suggested that a driver might become too comfortable and fall asleep. I don’t buy it. Comfort allows one to concentrate better and tire less easily. In addition, there is already technology in cars that can sense if a person is not paying attention, wandering in a lane or even brake the car to avoid an accident. There is technology that flashes lights, initiates buzzers and bells and even vibrates the seatbelt if a driver is distracted. There is technology currently in autos that scans the drivers eyes to detect weariness.
Personally, I look forward to the time when a joystick will be come an option for a driver. It can put all control in the driver’s hand, from speed to braking to cruise control as well as steering. An additional safety feature of such an arrangement would be the ability for a passenger to take over in the even of an emergency. A passenger could easily take control and bring a vehicle to a safe stop or even drive it to the nearest safe location.
Which manufacturer will be the first?