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The Cruise Control Stalk & Human Factors

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by Todd Burch, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    I have a bone to pick about the cruise control stalk.

    It's backward. I don't mean it's working improperly, but I mean--well--it's backward.

    When you are using cruise control in the Model S, pressing the lever forward (away from you) cancels cruise, and pulling it back toward you resumes cruise.

    This may not seem backward to you if you're used to driving a Mercedes. It also may not seem backward if you've trained your brain to remember this. But, I have an interest in engineering human factors and interface design, and IMHO this is all wrong.

    The best and most intuitive interface should mimic or reflect reality. When I want to resume CC, I should push the stalk forward because I want to speed back up and have the car move me forward. If I'm cancelling CC, it's because I want to slow down, so I should pull the stalk toward me, like a handbrake or a horse's reigns--and because I want the car to accelerate in the backward direction.

    First, what do you think?

    Second, any chance in Hades that Tesla might change this in a future software update? (Fingers crossed).

    I mention this because it was so counter-intuitive and distracting to me during my drive on the highway today that I started to depart my lane!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Whoops. Meant the title of this thread to be "The CRUISE control stalk & human factors"! (Typing on smartphone).
     
  2. spatterso911

    spatterso911 MSP#7577 **--** MX#1891

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    I would much prefer a smaller stalk placed lower on the steering shaft (below and behind the turn signal stalk). Functionally it operates like the one on my BMW. I have always wished they would change the functionality so that you push forward to speed up, pull back to slow down, push up to set speed, down to cancel.

    At least I won't have to retrain the brain...

    On the subject of engineering human factors and epic fails...

    Nearly all manufacturers fail on the manumatic stick. BMW is the only one that got it right. Like any manual driver, you intuitively pull towards yourself to upshift, push away to downshift. Manufacturers reverse this action which feels awkward. I get why...push forward to upshift seems intuitive on paper, just not to seasoned manny tranny drivers.
     
  3. woof

    woof Model S #P683 Blue 85 kWh

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    I totally agree, it's backward. And to make it worse, it is completely backward from the BMW ActiveE which I also drive. The Model S cruise stalk is above the blinker stalk, while the ActiveE cruise stalk is below the blinker stalk. In the 'E (and some other BMWs) push the stalk forward to set or go faster, pull the stalk back to set or go slower. This makes sense to me, forward == faster, backward == slower. To cancel, push up OR down--okay, a bit odd, but I can deal. To resume, there is a button on the end of the stalk.

    For what it's worth, I don't like cruise on stalks at all. I much prefer it to be on the steering wheel like Honda/Acura does it (and apparently some newer BMWs now). Going faster/slower is a thumb press away, so I can drive with one hand and no feet.

    I really hope a firmware update on the 'S will allow me to map the cruise speed to the right hand thumb wheel. Press to cancel; roll up to set or speed up; roll down to set or slow down. Simple and intuitive, I think.
     
  4. alset

    alset Member

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    This does fail the intuition test, I agree. However, Tesla probably felt they should just repeat what Mercedes did since it is at least "tried and tested".
     
  5. cinergi

    cinergi Active Member

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    Personally I got used to it. The only thing I occasionally still do (when my concentration is consumed with traffic conditions) is flash my high beams instead of cancel cruise :redface:
    But I'm quite used to operating the directional and cruise now. Granted, I'm not switching between cars frequently ... though was able to drive my parents car and two rentals over the course of the last 3 months without much trouble.
    *shrug*
     
  6. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Whenever there is a push and pull or up and down maneuver, 50% of the folks say it's backwards. I don't think it's possible to win this one.
     
  7. woof

    woof Model S #P683 Blue 85 kWh

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    Then I propose it should be user selectable and fully programmable. The stalk has 7 positions on it (up, all the way up, down, all the way down, forward, backward, and pressed), and cruise control has 6 actions (on, off, faster, slower, resume, cancel). Like video games often do, let the user select the actions for each position.

    BTW, I still want it on the wheel (I'll keep saying it until it happens)!
     
  8. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    I don't know...the evidence thus far is not supporting that. If it truly weren't significant, my human factors spidey sense wouldn't be going off... :wink:

    - - - Updated - - -

    Funny you mention this. I had a rental last week for work (a Mazda with manumatic) and thought the EXACT same thing.
     
  9. badpenny

    badpenny p85 VIN1751

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    Todd,

    I believe I am on the glass is half full side... or is that glass is half empty. Either way my 50/50 guess is that you are correct. I feel like a bicycle/motorcycle/moped brake, you would pull it towards you to slow down. I constantly find myself taking a second or so to remember which way to pull it in when I need to slow down or speed up. Luckily the brake also takes it off when I take too long to remember. I would like to see Tesla switch these. If not at least make it configurable like the "Invert Axis" option in most video games.

    my 2 cents.
     
  10. kendallpb

    kendallpb Model S: P 8061

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    People are different and find different things intuitive; few things are across-the-board intuitive to everyone. But also, things don't exist in a vacuum. My wipers' "quick spritz" is pull-to-activate (not sticky, so there's no on/off) and my high beams are pull-to-activate and push-to-deactivate. The shifter in my other half's SUV, as with most, is pull towards to drive and push away to get into Neutral/Park. I don't know that it's intuitive or just that I'm used to it, but many things seems to be activated by pulling towards me, not pushing away, and some of those things are explicitly cancelled/deactivated by pushing away. These are just three examples from two cars I use now.

    I don't get the handbrake analogy, sorry. I pull up to put the parking break on (as with all handbrakes I've seen); I push the button in and push the lever down to release. There's no forward/backward about it. Oh, sure, it has to have an anchor point, but it seems placed closer to me, so technically I'm pulling up and slightly towards me, for ergonomic reasons (pulling a lever up and away would be more difficult to do).

    I don't believe reins are a good comparison. It wasn't designed for our intuition, but for the horse's! Pulling it back inhibits the horse's movement, thus it slows. Much like if I pull back on you when you're walking away from me, you will pause. But selecting/activating electronics' features aren't the same thing at all, IMHO. Plus, most of us don't ride horses. ;-)

    Anyway, I haven't used cruise on the Model S yet (in the Get Amped drive; I don't have my car yet), but I'm thinking it'll be easy to learn.

    I doubt they'd change the behavior, but then, Apple changed the formerly-intuitive scrolling behavior in MacOS X (though with an option to select how it works), so who knows? But I'm skeptical.

    BTW, I like threads like this so I have a heads up on how things work, so I know what to expect. :-D Thanks!
     
  11. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I've got it 100% sorted. Every time I think I want to turn off the cruise control, I simply remember that I have to turn it on instead. Now I get it right every time.

    Seriously. It's backwards.
     
  12. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

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    Try being left-handed, then we'll talk backwards.
     
  13. Jason S

    Jason S Model S Sig Perf (P85)

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    The Model S is my wife's daily driver and my occasional bit of fun. Today we switched cars and she complained about the placement of controls on my car.

    It is whatever you are used to.
     
  14. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Yep. One of my cars you push down on the wiper stalk for a quick single wipe and on my other car it's up. And on both of these cars, the wiper stalks are precisely where the gear selector will be on my Model S when it comes!

    I think it's just a case of getting used to what you have.
     
  15. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    "Pushing" is just as often an off action on certain machinery as it is an on action. E.g. emergency switches on a table saw, blade rotation on a ride-on mower, the lights on my utility vehicle. Muscle memory will take care of the problem soon enough.


    Mode note: title updated at OP request.
     
  16. W8MM

    W8MM R1.5 #325 + Mdl S #01380

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    ^^^ This!
     
  17. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    Well I have yet to use it but that is the way I would prefer it. I am fairly certain that is the way my stalk in my VW worked.


    +1 to having it below the blinker. I really liked that setup on my VW.

    This is exactly right. There is a reason all First Person Shooter games have a 'invert y-axis' option. I have met very few people who can play with both options. I am always staring straight up or straight down unless the y-axis is inverted.
     
  18. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    not to derail...but I've gotten pretty used to the push to cancel bit on the CC stalk, but agree it would have been more intuitive the othe way around.

    My issue is that about once per drive I reach over to turn on the turn signal and end up setting the cruise control speed to whatever my current speed is...this is a bad thing since I'm trying to slow to turn (hence why I reached for the turn signal to start with). So far no big deal, it's easy enough to hit the brake to slow, but it is a bit startling to suddenly feel the acceleration instead of the expected continued regen slowing and then need to hit the brake.
     
  19. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I did the opposite. When I first got the car I kept signaling lane changes instead of setting the cruise speed. I got used to that. I haven't got used to the cruise on/off - have to think about it every time.
     
  20. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I read all the stories and myself thought it was a weird placement, but on my couple of test drives, I had no problem at all. Never missed the turn signal once. I don't think I've ever had a car with more than one stalk on each side. Cruise has either been buttons on the wheel or buttons/sliders on the turn signal stalk itself.
     

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