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Further discussion and analysis on why the yoke is not good

You can’t. If you live on simple streets where the yoke doesn’t turn much then maybe you can. But the yoke yanks back and forth by itself and if your hands are on it you’ll disable FSD by virtue of torquing it. This is not an issue with a steering wheel as you can let the wheel pass through your fingers while still being able to grab it as necessary.
I can see how it would be difficult as the yoke jerks quickly in turns and grabbing it can be challenging vs. letting your fingers glide as the wheel turns. when I had to take over autopilot, I just grabbed whatever part of the yoke to cancel it, I wouldn't say it's scary, but it was a little weird. My first reaction though is to tap or hit the brakes on maneuvers I don't agree with. Grabbing the steering wheel to input may be too late if the car is still moving.
 
This thread has probably beaten this particular horse to death but I'll add my 2 cents anyway. I picked up my new MX Long Range last week and was a bit apprehensive about the yoke because of all the static in these forums. This my 3rd MX (2016 and 2019 Raven) and from the moment I drove it off the lot it was clear this version is exponentially superior in every way. To be fair, when I say the thing I absolutely like the most is the yoke, I should be clear that I'm on the most receptive end of the spectrum of adopting new technologies. But others have said the same thing and I honestly think with time most people will feel that way too.

Like other posters, I was immediately struck by the breathtaking expansive view, which combined with the front windshield feels like being in the captain's chair on the Starship Enterprise flying through space. On top of that dramatic visual sense, the yoke in my hands--but not in my line of sight with controls literally at my fingertips--creates a connection to the car almost like an extension of my central nervous system. A little dramatic? Sure, but pretty much how this MX feels compared to a conventional car.

Specifically, access to controls without taking hands off the wheel to fool with stalks quickly becomes intuitive, Some controls, windshield wipers for example, react to different amounts of pressure, automatically activating options on the screen,. Once you become accustomed to those functions, getting the car to do most things you want it to is virtually effortless,

If anything, contrary to what others have said, turns are easier for me than a conventional wheel, especially with steering set to "sport", The poster who said you can often navigate with one finger was correct, nor does it take long to learn how and where to grip the yoke in various situations to ensure you always maintain complete control..

Is it perfect? No, but pretty close. I do agree the horn should be in the center of the yoke and don't understand why it's not, but I also think the hue and cry about that is way overblown (no pun intended). First of all, most people rarely use the horn and when they do it's usually in a situation where they have plenty of time to find the button. The only times I can remember honking recently were either to "remind" texters or day dreamers to move along or to save an occasional dashcam clip for one reason or another, The horn button is quite sensitive, so when a quick reaction is needed it will blow if you smash your hand on the right side of the yoke instead of on the middle. The alleged "safety hazard" because it would be too difficult to find the button during an emergency maneuver is a red herring. In that circumstance blowing the horn is no longer likely to be helpful and it's far more important for the driver to devote full attention--and both hands--to avoiding the trouble.

As Yogi Berra once said about the lack of Mets fans at home games, "if they don't want to come, nothing will stop 'em". Same is true for those determined not to like the yoke. But I predict anyone approaching this with an open mind will be very pleasantly surprised, and before too long all the steam will be out of this particular teapot,
 

Kandiru

Active Member
Oct 20, 2014
1,669
717
USA
Until Tesla implements digital proportional input sensing turnless steering on the yoke like Lexus, the yoke remains a joke. Rapid steering is essential in many lifesaving maneuvers.

Loved my legacy Model S I drove for almost 8 years, but yoke and sterile road detached air suspension made me choose the M3LR, amazing car (still in honeymoon period after last week delivery). The tiny steering wheel with gokart responses is a pleasant discovery after the big one in the MS.
 
This thread has probably beaten this particular horse to death but I'll add my 2 cents anyway. I picked up my new MX Long Range last week and was a bit apprehensive about the yoke because of all the static in these forums. This my 3rd MX (2016 and 2019 Raven) and from the moment I drove it off the lot it was clear this version is exponentially superior in every way. To be fair, when I say the thing I absolutely like the most is the yoke, I should be clear that I'm on the most receptive end of the spectrum of adopting new technologies. But others have said the same thing and I honestly think with time most people will feel that way too.

Like other posters, I was immediately struck by the breathtaking expansive view, which combined with the front windshield feels like being in the captain's chair on the Starship Enterprise flying through space. On top of that dramatic visual sense, the yoke in my hands--but not in my line of sight with controls literally at my fingertips--creates a connection to the car almost like an extension of my central nervous system. A little dramatic? Sure, but pretty much how this MX feels compared to a conventional car.

Specifically, access to controls without taking hands off the wheel to fool with stalks quickly becomes intuitive, Some controls, windshield wipers for example, react to different amounts of pressure, automatically activating options on the screen,. Once you become accustomed to those functions, getting the car to do most things you want it to is virtually effortless,

If anything, contrary to what others have said, turns are easier for me than a conventional wheel, especially with steering set to "sport", The poster who said you can often navigate with one finger was correct, nor does it take long to learn how and where to grip the yoke in various situations to ensure you always maintain complete control..

Is it perfect? No, but pretty close. I do agree the horn should be in the center of the yoke and don't understand why it's not, but I also think the hue and cry about that is way overblown (no pun intended). First of all, most people rarely use the horn and when they do it's usually in a situation where they have plenty of time to find the button. The only times I can remember honking recently were either to "remind" texters or day dreamers to move along or to save an occasional dashcam clip for one reason or another, The horn button is quite sensitive, so when a quick reaction is needed it will blow if you smash your hand on the right side of the yoke instead of on the middle. The alleged "safety hazard" because it would be too difficult to find the button during an emergency maneuver is a red herring. In that circumstance blowing the horn is no longer likely to be helpful and it's far more important for the driver to devote full attention--and both hands--to avoiding the trouble.

As Yogi Berra once said about the lack of Mets fans at home games, "if they don't want to come, nothing will stop 'em". Same is true for those determined not to like the yoke. But I predict anyone approaching this with an open mind will be very pleasantly surprised, and before too long all the steam will be out of this particular teapot,
I hope they recall all the yokes asap. Then the universe will be back in sync.
 
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Until Tesla implements digital proportional input sensing turnless steering on the yoke like Lexus, the yoke remains a joke. Rapid steering is essential in many lifesaving maneuvers.

Loved my legacy Model S I drove for almost 8 years, but yoke and sterile road detached air suspension made me choose the M3LR, amazing car (still in honeymoon period after last week delivery). The tiny steering wheel with gokart responses is a pleasant discovery after the big one in the MS.
The yoke is a complete joke. Any reasonable person who is concerned with safety knows this.
 
I can see how it would be difficult as the yoke jerks quickly in turns and grabbing it can be challenging vs. letting your fingers glide as the wheel turns. when I had to take over autopilot, I just grabbed whatever part of the yoke to cancel it, I wouldn't say it's scary, but it was a little weird. My first reaction though is to tap or hit the brakes on maneuvers I don't agree with. Grabbing the steering wheel to input may be too late if the car is still moving.
The problem is when the car (2022 S with Yoke) is in the middle of a turn, and starts to go into the wrong lane, towards other cars, and you try to grab and correct at the same time with very little time to spare. It is nerve wracking. With a round wheel it is a complete non issue (i.e. my 2018 S)
 
So I get what you think about the yoke-- I've read a lot of your posts. I'm curious, do you have one?
He's a broken record. He put up his P100D for sale in an old post and not sure if he sold it or not, but he doesn't even have a Tesla if it was sold. The S and X are selling and people are getting accustomed to the yoke. Only the haters post and they choose to be so dramatic. OMG, I was maneuvering 5mph and almost wrecked my car. I tried going 5mph and it's a crawl. If you lose control and don't even use the brakes, the problem is with the driver and not the yoke.
 
You almost crashed it twice trying to park? Use auto park maybe. I don’t understand what people do to almost crash their yoke. What were you doing and how fast? Slow down maybe, there’s something called the brakes if you don’t feel comfortable with a maneuver.
It's simple, it's mathematical, 180° or so less control points equates to a more dangerous driving interface. Not complicated
 
Hello, I would like to offer a deeper analysis on why the yoke steering for model S and X is not a good substitute for a 360-degree circular steering wheel. This in going to be a detailed and lengthy analysis for those that are interested.

I will also caution those who are trying to make a rational and well-informed decision about purchasing a vehicle with the yoke to take those that are very enthusiastic and vocal about the yoke being a positive thing very critically. There seems to be a group of people that are very vocal and supposedly enthusiastic about the yoke but I question their true motives and experience, especially with long distance driving, with the yoke. Buying a Model S with a yoke was a very costly decision for me and I'm trying to help people that care to learn from my experience to avoid the same fate if they wish.

Background: I owned a 2022 Plaid for the last 5 months or so. The yoke steering did not bother me too much until I did some cross-country travel. At that time, it became so apparent that the yoke lacks the basic ability to control the car that I took a 40K hit (yes you read that right, your Tesla may not be holding the value you think) to get into a model 3 for only one reason—a steering wheel.

I am also a former AF pilot.

What Happened? During cross county travel (10 hours or more of driving each day for multiple days in a row) it became apparent that I did not have good manual control of the vehicle. I RELIED on the autopilot BECAUSE it was ergonomically, mechanically, and from a physics standpoint infeasible to manually operate the vehicle for long periods of time.

This is what cross-country travel looked like for me with the model S: 1) Get going. 2) Put it on autopilot because manually steering the car for long periods of time is nearly impossible from a fatigue standpoint. 3) Spend the next 10 hours is sort of a daze monitoring the computer and wondering if and hoping that it does not end your life.

Ok, I like autopilot and like to use it quite a bit. I do not like having to use it nearly 100% of the time on a road trip because I can not manually operate the car.

I want to steer the car effectively for several reasons:

1) It’s fun to be able to manually operate the vehicle effectively. Tesla’s are so fun and sporty, why would you not want to hand drive it a good amount?

2) Going from autopilot to hand steering is a good exercise during a road trip that helps change things up, wake you up, and keep you from getting rusty on manually operating the car (yes, my driving skills did in fact deteriorate just after owing a mod S for 5 months—not good). In the AF I always liked to hand fly the plane a good amount each day to make sure my flying skills were not deteriorating. It is a real confidence builder knowing that you can switch off the automated systems at any time and for any reason and manually operate the vehicle. I flew with many pilots that I cannot say the same about because they did not take the time on a regular basis to get off the automated systems and it could get scary when the autopilot was acting up and their first reaction was not to take control of the aircraft because they were not confident in their skills. There is much carryover here to the world of driving.

3) Manually steering the car for while can allow for the driver to change position a bit in the seat, increase blood flow through the spinal and leg regions and generally offer a safer and more comfortable trip. With the yoke there is nothing to grab onto on the upper portions of the wheel to do this (and no, I am not buying the argument that it is intrinsically unsafe to handle the steering wheel anywhere above 9 and 3. I have never read this as a warning in any operator’s manual before. If you do not like to handle the steering wheel in the upper portions, just don’t do it with your steering wheel, you don’t need to remove the whole thing for the majority of people that utilize those positions.

4) I do not always want to be in the center of my lane. Autopilot tends to do a very good job of placing meet right in the middle of my lane or, even worse a little closer to center line than I'd like to be. Driving, on the other hand necessitates different lane placements. If I'm passing by a semi, I'd rather be pushing the limits away from the truck not right in the middle of my lane. If I'm going by cyclists or pedestrians, I might push the limits to the side of the lane away from them. This is not another reason why it’s necessary the driver has the capabilities to manually operate the vehicle when wanted or when necessary and the yoke simply does not allow for this to be done effectively.

Why does the yolk offer less control than a 360 degree circular wheel? Because there are simply less points of control for hand placement. If you have a steering wheel, just imagine chopping the top of it off, and even worse making the bottom part of it rectangular. It's hard to argue how you'll have more control over the vehicle over time with this being the case. Furthermore, just imagine removing the entire steering wheel and steering it with a nob using your hand. Would this be more or less fatiguing in operating the car, especially for long periods of time? Obviously, this is a rhetorical question.

With the yoke, you have limited options of control points with your hands. Do you put your hand on the right hand side of the yolk and watch gravity pull it down overtime? Do you put your left hand on the left side of the yolk and watch gravity pull it to the left, even worse do you try to put two hands on the yolk and predict which hand we'll fatigue the fastest and pull the car to that side? It is truly a nightmare.

With the steering wheel you have many more points of balance and control to work with different driving positions, body types, and so on.

Let talk for a moment about why airplanes have yokes and why cars have steering wheels:

Why airplanes have rectangular yokes: For starters a rectangular yoke mimics the primary control surface of an aircraft, it’s wings. Although there are some similarities between flying and driving there are some critical differences as well. In terms of horizontal control with the wings, the pilot is constantly trying to trim off forces and is essentially trying to achieve as close as possible to hands free flying. In a car there is not an equivalent.

Airplanes also need to achieve vertical control which the pilot achieves by pushing up and down on the yoke which effectively controls the vertical stabilizer. Cars do not have this function of vertical control. This is one reason why airplanes do not have steering wheels. It would become awkward and non-uniform if the pilot had to push up and down on a steering wheel in order to control vertical flight. This is because the steering wheel would offer too many hand positions away from the center of gravity of the pilot to offer a uniform method of vertical control.

Let's talk about why cars have steering wheels for a moment. First of all, the primary method of controlling a car, unlike rectangular wings and yokes in airplanes, is circular wheels on the car. The reason why a steering wheel is circular has to do with the circular motion of a car’s wheels, it's primary control force. This is a lesson in basic physics. In addition, driving is an activity that's unlike flying in many ways. It may sound counterintuitive but driving, by and large, is a much more precise activity than flying. When you are flying you have critical moments of flight such as takeoff and landing but in most other instances of flight there is a lot more space available than when you are traveling on I-5 just feet away from thousands of other cars on the road. In addition, in driving it is impossible to trim out the horizontal forces needed to maintain lane placement. This is an activity that requires constant small and precise inputs to maintain appropriate distances from other vehicles, barriers and the like. In driving, your life literally depends on feet or inches nearly the entire time. This is simply not the case with most instances of flying.

Let's talk a moment of this idea that people have that steering by wire will actually fix the problems of putting a yoke into an automobile. I disagree with this concept. In fact, I think, after having owned a Model S with a yoke for five months, steering by wire will actually make the car even more difficult to control over long periods of time (which is really saying something!) The reason why I think steering by wire is not going to make the yoke any better, and possibly quite a bit worse, is that it doesn't fix any of the intrinsic operator issues with the yoke as it relates to a human being able to control it. In addition, it will essentially make yoke steering much more sensitive which I think will prove to be a real disaster in trying to control the car. I think steer-by-wire will make the yoke worse not better.

After having driven the Model S with the yoke for five months and now my model 3 for about one month I've noticed some other things that could be helpful to people trying to make this decision. Another negative thing about the yoke is that it does not offer any better control or monitoring of the vehicle while autopilot is engaged. I can say from experience that I have much greater monitoring and control abilities (to take over when necessary) with the steering wheel in my model 3. This actually causes me to want to use autopilot more in my model 3 that I wanted to use it in my Model S.

With autopilot on with the yoke I noticed that I would typically have my right hand on the right side of the yolk which tended to pull down making a quick up motion difficult to do. Another common position I found myself using in my Model S was my hand palm down on the bottom part of the yoke which is not hard to imagine, made it really hard to make a quick motion up using my shoulder muscles.

In contrast, with a steering wheel on autopilot granted much better takeover and monitoring capabilities. While using autopilot with a wheel I typically have a rock-solid grip on the 4:00 position of the wheel. It is easy to push up or pull down if needed to take over.

I'm here to say that I'm much more confident in using the autopilot with a steering wheel rather than a yoke. All this probably comes down to the point that the better control you have over the car in manual conditions, the better you're going to be able to monitor the car and take over while using automated functions. This is a critical concept.

There's also a lot of good historical precedence on a 360 degree steering wheel as opposed to yoke steering for automobiles. Although yoke steering has been attempted over the last 50 to 70 years, it has been almost completely unsuccessful. It's not because people haven't thought of using a rectangular device to operate an automobile it's just that a 360 degree steering wheel works really well in controlling the wheels on an automobile in a precise and unfatiguing fashion. This boils down to the ergonomic and physics fdiscussed in detail above.

Even though my model 3 has a steering wheel, I think Tesla could do a lot of things to make the steering wheel better. Primarily I think that there should be an opening in the bottom of the steering wheel for fingers to be placed. This simply allows for more control areas of the 360-degree wheel. You'll be hard pressed to find a steering wheel made by a reputable automotive company that does not have some openings in the bottom of the wheel for finger placement and touch-familiarization. There's a reason for this from an ergonomic and physics standpoint. I think Tesla would be well off to adopt some of these well proven tools rather than trying to “reinvent the wheel” in every sense. There's a lot of things particularly with battery, electric motor, and software engineering that Tesla truly excels at. I think that they would be well off to make a better car by simply taking a closer look at what other automotive companies have discovered over the last 100 years. Other companies do a great job of building a car. Tesla does not do a very good job of building a car but an outstanding job in some of the technology mentioned above. I think Tesla would be a much better company if they make an automobile with the comfort and specifications any of many of the other automotive companies in the world but continue to excel at what they do best. I think a lot of people buy a Tesla nowadays not necessarily because they want to but because they have to. As time goes on, and other automotive companies catch up to what Tesla is doing I fear that this will put Tesla at a competitive disadvantage and deteriorate their market capitalization and ability to innovate in the future.

I will also caution people that are trying to make the steering wheel/yoke decision to listen very critically to the people that are enthusiastic about the yolk. I think there could be several reasons for this. I will also note that I, before doing several cross-country road trips, was fairly positive about the yolk and told other people that I actually thought it was a good thing. The cross-country trips ruined this for me. I suspect many of these people have less experience with the yoke then they claim and I'm not sure how many of them have actually tried to put the vehicle to the test in a serious cross-country event.

I was skeptical at first with the yoke but then I decided to give Tesla engineers the benefit of the doubt and bought the Model S anyways. Obviously, there was a huge financial mistake for me and I should have gone with my initial instincts about the yoke and not necessarily what people, some of which have experience and some of which don't, we're saying about the yoke.

I hope that this article helps some people avoid the very serious financial mistake I made with purchasing a model S.
But Michael Knight found it fine to use in the 1989s 😂
 

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