Farewell, steering wheel – joystick steering will be ready for series production as early as 2023

Wolfgang Gomoll and Timothy Pancake

Designers and technicians have been fighting over the steering wheel for 136 years. The most important and wonderfully logical control element is tried and tested – but it is clumsy and poses a safety problem in the event of a crash. Lexus, Mini and Tesla, for example, recently tried new steering wheels. It’s just that it’s never been possible without it. But today even that would be technically possible. It is time to rethink the steering wheel, not only because of future autonomous cars in which you rarely have to drive yourself.

The Schaeffler-Paravan joint venture from Germany is currently developing and testing joystick steering in motor racing (DTM), and production cars are to follow soon. The idea is not new: Mercedes, for example, let Blick drive with joysticks in 2004 as a test (see gallery). But legal aspects – the mechanical connection of the steering wheel and front wheels was still mandatory – and fear of accidents during the introduction stood against it.

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