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About that "yoke" steering wheel

TigerNinety

Member
Jun 22, 2016
190
138
Silver Spring, MD
When I was driving today to run a short errand, the memory of this comment came to me suddenly as I was maneuvering in a supermarket parking lot. I was not consciously trying to use or avoid any particular part of the steering wheel (nor had I coated my lovely leather wheel in Vaseline as an experiment!), but I realized I had my hand on the top of the wheel as I was turning the wheel to navigate out of a parking space. Then I let the wheel spin back through my hands as the car straightened out. This simple recognition while I was in the middle of a routine maneuver illustrated to me how much I use and would miss having a full wheel -- although I admit there was no way to simulate the variable steering ratio that people have postulated would make this possible for such low speed maneuvers.
I have been driving for more than 50 years. The idea of so totally altering the driving environment (including both the wheel and the control stalks) seems absurd, intimidating, overly risky, and unnecessary.
Just to second this (and without applying anything to my steering wheel...not needed), I was backing out of a parking space today and noticed that I was (happily) adjusting the course of the car letting the wheel (including the top part) slide through my fingers of a single hand, with pressure to adjust the car angle, etc. Without the full wheel, my attention would have to have left the center screen or or I'd have to have guessed on the catch of the "other side" of the yoke or I'd have to have done some two-hand gymnastics to have constant yoke contact. None of this is necessary with a full wheel. (And, God only knows, if you feel the need to look over your shoulder to see what's behind the car, multiply the difficulty delta described previously by at least 2.)

Has anyone presented a "for" case on the ergonomic vehicle control of a car with a yoke? I'll assume constant ratio for the moment, but I'd be open even to a variable ratio argument: for a street- (not track-) driven car, how or why is a yoke better than a wheel for physical control of the car? [Note that I am excepting arguments about visibility of a binnacle, which I respect, but this question is about physical control of the car.)

Anyone?
 
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rvpCO

Member
Feb 19, 2021
52
139
Colorado
No-one can say that the yoke is better than the old fashion wheel. Because no customer has had the opportunity to drive a Tesla with the yoke steering. I was not looking for a car with yoke steering. But when I saw the refresh Model S pictures with the yoke steering, I changed my mind from ordering a Model Y to a Model S. I have a reservation for a Cybertruck and thought it be good to get used to the yoke steering. I drive over 95% of the time fairly straight. So as long as the car turns it shouldn't be a problem. I noticed that I drive with my left hand at the 9:00 position. I have a Chevy Colorado now and turn most of the time with one finger. I am old enough to drive cars with no power steering. No way could you drive one of those vehicles with a yoke.

I hope that Tesla allows everyone to choose with steering that they prefer. For me it will not be a big change to use a yoke. But I understand that it will be a deal breaker for others not to have an old fashion wheel steering. We all have been waiting for their new Model S longer than we wanted. So we should all be able to get the car that we want with the steering that we want.
 
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whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,551
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Seattle area, WA
There are buttons on the wheel to shift gears I believe from one of the reports.
Well, that report appears to be wrong. Here is a video which reportedly shows how it's going to work. The fact that this feature exists, tells me the gear guessing will a beta gimmick like FSD for a very long time. It did allow Elon to save cost on the stalk, though dead MCU now effectively bricks your car. It should make for some funny fails, when your MCU dies at a ser of lights and only wants to go backwards (perhaps thinks you want to parallel park into the adjacent lane).
 
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TigerNinety

Member
Jun 22, 2016
190
138
Silver Spring, MD
No-one can say that the yoke is better than the old fashion wheel. Because no customer has had the opportunity to drive a Tesla with the yoke steering. I was not looking for a car with yoke steering. But when I saw the refresh Model S pictures with the yoke steering, I changed my mind from ordering a Model Y to a Model S. I have a reservation for a Cybertruck and thought it be good to get used to the yoke steering. I drive over 95% of the time fairly straight. So as long as the car turns it shouldn't be a problem. I noticed that I drive with my left hand at the 9:00 position. I have a Chevy Colorado now and turn most of the time with one finger. I am old enough to drive cars with no power steering. No way could you drive one of those vehicles with a yoke.

I hope that Tesla allows everyone to choose with steering that they prefer. For me it will not be a big change to use a yoke. But I understand that it will be a deal breaker for others not to have an old fashion wheel steering. We all have been waiting for their new Model S longer than we wanted. So we should all be able to get the car that we want with the steering that we want.

Sincere thanks for your reply. I agree that everyone should be able to choose the steering they prefer.

But, I disagree--in the context of the specific question I asked--that "no-one can say that the yoke is better than the old fashion wheel". My question was not about what a Tesla yoke does or doesn't do; for my question, it doesn't matter whether "no customer has had the opportunity to drive a Tesla with the yoke steering."

I'm still looking for someone who can make a case regarding "the ergonomic vehicle control of a car with a yoke...for a street- (not track-) driven car, how or why is a yoke better than a wheel for physical control of the car?" Skip whether it's a Tesla or not (note that I didn't specify a Tesla): "for a street- (not track-) driven car, how or why is a yoke better than a wheel for physical control of the car?"

[FWIW, I completely respect your point about how you drive and why a yoke would work for your typical driving. But, that's not an argument for why a yoke is better for physical control of a car.]

Thanks!
 
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Hayseed_MS

Who's the Good Doge?
Jan 19, 2021
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Well, that report appears to be wrong. Here is a video which reportedly shows how it's going to work. The fact that this feature exists, tells me the gear guessing will a beta gimmick like FSD for a very long time. It did allow Elon to save cost on the stalk, though dead MCU now effectively bricks your car. It should make for some funny fails, when your MCU dies at a ser of lights and only wants to go backwards (perhaps thinks you want to parallel park into the adjacent lane).

It has been reported that there are three ways to shift. It was not said that there were specific buttons on the wheel but that the scroll wheel/button would select. In addition, there would be Smart Shift and the touch screen.
 
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Hayseed_MS

Who's the Good Doge?
Jan 19, 2021
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The beauty of the free market is that no has to answer the question. It really cannot be argued until you actually try it. I am speaking purely as to Tesla. I know your point is to these yokes in general and you may be right but I personally do not care about the other vehicles since I am just interested in the Tesla with a yoke.

I have no argument of why it might be better one way or the other. There is no study on this because is not even out. We can speculate based on what we have seen in pics and videos but we do not even know the steering controls behind the scenes. Before people piss on it too much, we should wait to pass final judgment. It obviously works to a degree based on test mules on city streets - we do not know if the driver is cussing and beating his head on the window or is he is happy and safe.

It may be the dumbest thing they have tried or may be great but there has been no compelling argument either way specific to this vehicle for me to form a definitive conclusion.

It will be our civic duty as first adopters to give it a try or not based on if it comes as standard or an option.
 
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elguapo

Supporting Member
Apr 24, 2013
1,062
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Maryland
I don’t think they are going to do anything with the steering differential between the yoke and regular wheel. Just not worth it for them and, frankly, not needed. People will either get used to and want the yoke, or they can have the wheel. I still think they’ll offer an option somehow and agree no one really can say if it will or won’t work until they’ve personally tried it.
 

AlexParker

Member
Aug 5, 2020
136
103
Denver, CO
Well, that report appears to be wrong. Here is a video which reportedly shows how it's going to work. The fact that this feature exists, tells me the gear guessing will a beta gimmick like FSD for a very long time. It did allow Elon to save cost on the stalk, though dead MCU now effectively bricks your car. It should make for some funny fails, when your MCU dies at a ser of lights and only wants to go backwards (perhaps thinks you want to parallel park into the adjacent lane).
I’ve seen the video and it does not negate my comment. The reports are that there are buttons on the underside of the yoke - like dual clutch paddle shifters.

I appreciate not everyone wants this, likes this, etc… but I’m also willing to try almost anything once before forming an opinion. That’s me, doesn’t have to be you, but at least be open-minded that others may like it, others may want it, and it may not work like you think.
 

Wol747

Member
Aug 26, 2017
833
352
Tea Gardens
I think the point that one has to demonstrate that a yoke is better than a wheel is significant.
I fail to see how, for the manufacturer, it's any cheaper so it boils down to what it's like for the driver.
Having spent 35 years driving airplanes I would love to see a yoke "wheel" in my S - really futuristic. BUT I can't see how the serious disadvantages could be overcome. Fine when driving on roads (perhaps), a bit awkward when making 90 degree turns if the yoke ends up vertical and damn dangerous when making a series of full turns as when doing a 3 point turn and it ends up several times say 180 degrees off normal.
Variable gain has been mentioned - even more complexity for no improvement and, as I've said before, a safety hazard if one has to make a violent turn at high speed in an emergency and the car won't let you.
As for selecting fwd/rev from other than a stalk dedicated to that, words fail me. From the screen? Pleeze! From a scroll wheel that serves many other functions? Jeezus! These aren't down to individual choices, they are at the heart of transport ergonomics.
Tesla is becoming a teenager's video game if these things are really being considered as opposed to playing Musk's game of tease, with the difference that having lost one game you can't reset and get another life.
 

TigerNinety

Member
Jun 22, 2016
190
138
Silver Spring, MD
I think the point that one has to demonstrate that a yoke is better than a wheel is significant.
I fail to see how, for the manufacturer, it's any cheaper so it boils down to what it's like for the driver.
Having spent 35 years driving airplanes I would love to see a yoke "wheel" in my S - really futuristic. BUT I can't see how the serious disadvantages could be overcome. Fine when driving on roads (perhaps), a bit awkward when making 90 degree turns if the yoke ends up vertical and damn dangerous when making a series of full turns as when doing a 3 point turn and it ends up several times say 180 degrees off normal.
Variable gain has been mentioned - even more complexity for no improvement and, as I've said before, a safety hazard if one has to make a violent turn at high speed in an emergency and the car won't let you.
As for selecting fwd/rev from other than a stalk dedicated to that, words fail me. From the screen? Pleeze! From a scroll wheel that serves many other functions? Jeezus! These aren't down to individual choices, they are at the heart of transport ergonomics.
Tesla is becoming a teenager's video game if these things are really being considered as opposed to playing Musk's game of tease, with the difference that having lost one game you can't reset and get another life.
Yes, thanks. I actually don't think you need to have either the wheel or the yoke in hand (pun intended) to make observations in response to my question. Overall, I agree with your points on wheel vs. yoke, but I'm still anxious to hear from anyone who wants to make a case in favor of the yoke, in response to my question.

On the fwd/rev topic, I don't know that I like the automated "smart choice" of forward or reverse, but I'm less troubled about shifting being a slider on the screen than I am about controlling the car in motion with half a wheel. I'm assuming that the shifting happens when you're stationary, with less risk of a serious incident.
 
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AMPd

Active Member
Nov 27, 2012
4,444
3,668
Northern California
I think the point that one has to demonstrate that a yoke is better than a wheel is significant.
I fail to see how, for the manufacturer, it's any cheaper so it boils down to what it's like for the driver.
Having spent 35 years driving airplanes I would love to see a yoke "wheel" in my S - really futuristic. BUT I can't see how the serious disadvantages could be overcome. Fine when driving on roads (perhaps), a bit awkward when making 90 degree turns if the yoke ends up vertical and damn dangerous when making a series of full turns as when doing a 3 point turn and it ends up several times say 180 degrees off normal.
Variable gain has been mentioned - even more complexity for no improvement and, as I've said before, a safety hazard if one has to make a violent turn at high speed in an emergency and the car won't let you.
As for selecting fwd/rev from other than a stalk dedicated to that, words fail me. From the screen? Pleeze! From a scroll wheel that serves many other functions? Jeezus! These aren't down to individual choices, they are at the heart of transport ergonomics.
Tesla is becoming a teenager's video game if these things are really being considered as opposed to playing Musk's game of tease, with the difference that having lost one game you can't reset and get another life.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is nothing more than Elon Musk wanting attention and to satisfy his inner neediness.
I know many have speculated that the car will have variable steering so that you never have to completely turn the yoke... I find that hard to believe because such a feature would 100% have been advertised from the day they announced this car. I mean they advertise a “carbon sleeved rotor” but not a completely new steering design? I find that hard to believe.
 
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elguapo

Supporting Member
Apr 24, 2013
1,062
1,916
Maryland
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is nothing more than Elon Musk wanting attention and to satisfy his inner neediness.
I know many have speculated that the car will have variable steering so that you never have to completely turn the yoke... I find that hard to believe because such a feature would 100% have been advertised from the day they announced this car. I mean they advertise a “carbon sleeved rotor” but not a completely new steering design? I find that hard to believe.
Everyone said the touchscreen was absurd and ridiculous too. Now every car has one, or tries to. Let’s just see what it’s like.
 
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roblab

Active Member
Jul 15, 2008
3,442
2,498
Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
I fail to see how, for the manufacturer, it's any cheaper so it boils down to what it's like for the driver.
Having spent 35 years driving airplanes I would love to see a yoke "wheel" in my S -
Having watched my brother fly, the steering yoke seems to only tip the plane's wings up on one side and down on the other, which has nothing whatever to do with driving a car. The pedals steer the rudder, and again that's only a few degrees unless you want to go into a spin. The yoke steering seems to be simply a way of saying "This is different". And since we only turn the steering wheel a few degrees unless we're doing some sharp parking maneuvers, it's neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. Just different.

Years ago, before power assisted steering, a wheel was needed to muscle the car into a turn, especially when in a parking lot. Large semi trucks still need a wheel to jockey an 80,000 lb. vehicle around, and you never see anything other than a large wheel.

That being said, I think it would be WAY cool to have a yoke on my S! I wonder if I can get one aftermarket.
 
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bayareaever

Member
Jun 17, 2013
360
200
East Bay Area
The yoke will markedly increase front display visibility, which will be way more important with the new FSD graphics. When I had a MS loaner, one of my dislikes (vs my M3) was the wheel blocked the display view.

Also , it will retract for FSD much easier than a wheel.

the yoke S/X won’t make much sense without the FSD package, which is no accident and will benefit the bottom line in a big way (assuming the software works as promised!)
 
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Wol747

Member
Aug 26, 2017
833
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Tea Gardens
Having watched my brother fly, the steering yoke seems to only tip the plane's wings up on one side and down on the other, which has nothing whatever to do with driving a car. The pedals steer the rudder, and again that's only a few degrees unless you want to go into a spin. The yoke steering seems to be simply a way of saying "This is different". And since we only turn the steering wheel a few degrees unless we're doing some sharp parking maneuvers, it's neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. Just different.

Years ago, before power assisted steering, a wheel was needed to muscle the car into a turn, especially when in a parking lot. Large semi trucks still need a wheel to jockey an 80,000 lb. vehicle around, and you never see anything other than a large wheel.

That being said, I think it would be WAY cool to have a yoke on my S! I wonder if I can get one aftermarket.
Actually the rudders don't steer - they merely prevent sideslip. The yoke does the "steering" and as you intimate only normally moves a few degrees until the turn starts.
I must go outside and see how much my wheel has to be turned in parking!
 

Wol747

Member
Aug 26, 2017
833
352
Tea Gardens
The yoke will markedly increase front display visibility, which will be way more important with the new FSD graphics. When I had a MS loaner, one of my dislikes (vs my M3) was the wheel blocked the display view.

Also , it will retract for FSD much easier than a wheel.

the yoke S/X won’t make much sense without the FSD package, which is no accident and will benefit the bottom line in a big way (assuming the software works as promised!)
From an ergonomic point of view I think the display as per the present Beta version leaves a lot to be desired. It requires so much continuous interpretation that it's - from what I see on YouTube - extremely distracting if all the information is to be absorbed in real time. And if it's not to be used that way - why have it?
The monitoring of the automatics is - or should be - with the Mk 1 eyeball outside the car, not looking at information which is basically repeating what the car is "thinking". If the vehicle is about to hit something but the a/p doesn't realise this the display probably is just repeating the incorrect interpretation of the world.
I'm certainly not an expert in the theory of ergonomics, but over the decades I've seen some pretty user-unfriendly displays in aircraft - far far better nowadays but it's not impossible to think the same sort of mistakes are coming to a road near you courtesy of autonomous driving.
 
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Cheburashka

Active Member
Jan 29, 2018
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Los Gatos, CA
The yoke will markedly increase front display visibility, which will be way more important with the new FSD graphics. When I had a MS loaner, one of my dislikes (vs my M3) was the wheel blocked the display view.

Also , it will retract for FSD much easier than a wheel.

the yoke S/X won’t make much sense without the FSD package, which is no accident and will benefit the bottom line in a big way (assuming the software works as promised!)

I disagree. FSD is still Level 2 and requires your hand to be on the wheel at all times should something go wrong. Easy with the round wheel, but I can't see how one is supposed to keep their hands on the yoke. What happens if you need to take over mid-turn?
 
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bayareaever

Member
Jun 17, 2013
360
200
East Bay Area
From an ergonomic point of view I think the display as per the present Beta version leaves a lot to be desired. It requires so much continuous interpretation that it's - from what I see on YouTube - extremely distracting if all the information is to be absorbed in real time. And if it's not to be used that way - why have it?
The monitoring of the automatics is - or should be - with the Mk 1 eyeball outside the car, not looking at information which is basically repeating what the car is "thinking". If the vehicle is about to hit something but the a/p doesn't realise this the display probably is just repeating the incorrect interpretation of the world.
I'm certainly not an expert in the theory of ergonomics, but over the decades I've seen some pretty user-unfriendly displays in aircraft - far far better nowadays but it's not impossible to think the same sort of mistakes are coming to a road near you courtesy of autonomous driving.
I agree that the FSD beta videos with 3/Y make it obvious that looking at the screen off to the side and the road simultaneously is impossible and maybe redundant anyway. The new S/X will solve that somewhat with a front display, but a round wheel obstructs the display a lot for some driver depending on their torso height/hand positions. A yoke completely eliminates the obstruction but with some obvious downsides.

My theory is that Tesla has addressed these downsides through variable ratios but nhtsa hasn’t approved yet, which is why not a single one has been delivered despite being ‘in production’ since late January according to Elon on the earnings call.

Literally the trillion $ right now is whether reasonably working FSD will actually be delivered next month or soon thereafter. Without that, this new interior makes a lot less sense.
 
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