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The JoystickSeptember 14, 2008 Comments (35)
Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:29 am

Thank you to everyone who has contributed their input thus far – it’s very helpful and encouraging for us. As expected, the joystick is the most controversial aspect of Dagne’s design, as it was for us! We debated intensely whether people would accept something so different from the standard vehicle interface.  Once we started test driving the prototype however, our doubts have been mostly relieved – the joystick really is intuitive, and it’s a lot of fun! Will we offer a steering wheel option? We’ve talked about it, but it would require a strong voice from our customers asking for it. We really believe in the improvements to safety and comfort that the joystick provides. Oh, and yes, the joystick is repositionable, so you can drive it with either hand.


  1. It’s hard to decide from my living room how well the joystick works and responds, but I’m not automatically averse to it. Is there going to be cruise control available for longer trips?

    I’m hoping investors are beating down your door at this very minute; doors are relatively cheap :-{)]

    I’m curious that you haven’t garnered more media attention; one of the members from the flytheroadclub found your site just the other day… and several of us there keep a fairly close eye on the radar screen. I respect that you’re not seeking out the spotlight at this stage of Dagne’s development, but I hope that the investors you seek can find their way up the path, so to speak, to beat down that door.

    Comment by RAN — September 14, 2008 @ 11:10 am

  2. As you have already figured out by now, most people are unsure of the “joy stick” design. But, I don’t see anyone just flat negating the idea. I, for one, am extremely curious about trying it.

    And PICTURES! I think we ALL would love to get a 360 degree view, as well as interior views.

    Comment by AKP23 — September 14, 2008 @ 1:07 pm

  3. My instinct, knowing how governments love to intrude and regulate, is that California and/or the Feds will block production of DAGNE if it has a joystick. They’ll cite safety concerns associated with a consuming public which has no experience with joysticks.

    Even without government interference, the public will probably be reluctant to steer / control DAGNE without a steering wheel and brake pedal. (I fall into that group.)

    I spent a number of years in automotive sales & marketing, so my gut feelings include real experience in gaging consumer perceptions.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Comment by BeerBrewer — September 15, 2008 @ 3:33 am

  4. joystick is a great idea, and simplifies the production as there will be less in the “cockpit” to fool around with. I would buy one.

    Comment by setters4ever — September 15, 2008 @ 5:36 am

  5. Personally, I’ve been dying for a joystick control for a vehicle. I mean seriously, one joystick can take the place of the steering wheel, brake, accelerator, windshield wiper lever, lights, blinkers, hazards.

    All of these can be controlled from a joystick. That just seems so much smarter to me.

    I think we have stuck with the steering wheel for so long out of comfortability. Afraid to move to something else. It’s time.

    Comment by byteware — September 15, 2008 @ 6:39 am

  6. Joystick? I’d have to try it to know whether I’d like it. If you guys like it enough to commit to it, it must work ok…

    Comment by wallyb — September 15, 2008 @ 6:43 am

  7. Well I would have to test drive it first before I bought into this whole joystick thing. Also, how easy is it to reposition. I don’t know about you but on a long haul I like to switch hands while driving. I don’t want to have to pull over and take out a tool kit in order to switch hands driving. For me I just don’t think the technology is proven.

    Comment by Miracleman89 — September 15, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

  8. Miracleman89 is spot on. Tho’ many of us like the idea of a stick (and many don’t), a prudent person would try it first to see if it is comfortable to them. I have to say I am truly interested in the concept.

    Comment by AKP23 — September 16, 2008 @ 1:38 pm

  9. Sure, I’ll try the joystick. I’ve flown a joystick aircraft. But mind you. I don’t do video games! Wrong generation.

    My opinion is that you will not find many buyers that will be willing to give you their money with a joystick controlling the brakes.

    Comment by Jack Willard — September 18, 2008 @ 7:23 am

  10. The joystick is an interesting idea. I know you said that there is not legislation that prevents using a joystick, but there is legislation requiring a mechanical braking device. Since a joystick would require drive by wire for all operations I don’t think it will pass the regulatory requirements for mechanical braking. Just a thought!

    Comment by jmeineck — September 22, 2008 @ 7:57 am

  11. I think the joystick is a great idea… weather or not it is great in practice remains to be seen. I, like many others, could not make the decision to buy a vehicle with such a radical drive system without driving it first. Also, like Miracleman, I have a very long daily commute and would need several questions answered about the safety of switching hands as well as the actual procedure involved.

    That being said, I love the design so far. Clean lines, aerodynamic, and it looks crazy fun to drive.

    Comment by MrCCG — September 23, 2008 @ 8:03 am

  12. To jmeineck:

    I drive a Prius. To my understanding,
    the brake pedal is simply a switch controlling
    the various braking functions. The steering
    wheel and accelerator are likewise by-wire.

    Comment by ira — September 27, 2008 @ 1:15 pm

  13. I too like the joystick,but would really have to try it first. I too like the aerodynamic looks of the Dagne.

    Comment by denisg — September 29, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

  14. On the VV site “Cobraphx” stated a concern that bumps and dips in fast corners may pose a problem with a joystick, because bumps will move your body which might also move the joystick. Furthermore, you can’t brace yourself against the bumps with a joystick as you can with a steering wheel, since the joystick has movement in more axes. (I hope I’ve paraphrased this appropriately.)

    I would suspect that the effect of bumps and dips in fast corners using a joystick will be determined by your elbow or wrist placement. If the elbow or wrist is firmly planted on the armrest, then the bumps and dips should have little effect upon joystick movement, since armrest, elbow, hand and joystick should all move together with the vehicle. If you were to lift your elbow and wrist (or the bumps get severe), then I suspect the joystick would be very hard to control , just as “Cobraphx” predicts.

    Any comments about this from the prototype test drivers?

    Comment by FlyUS287 — October 5, 2008 @ 9:04 am

  15. Keep in mind FlyUS287, that in a traditional vehicle, you are not restrained. Your only restraint is a loose belt from shoulder to hip to other hip.

    In the Dagne you will be restrained by a five point harness. I would imagine that your body won’t be moving much. Hence your arm won’t move much on a bump.

    Comment by byteware — October 6, 2008 @ 10:41 am

  16. I really hope the steering wheel option will be there. I think my hand would get sore or tired on long journeys, and I like to be able to drive with my knee and relax sometimes.

    Comment by rockstar728 — October 7, 2008 @ 6:50 pm

  17. Just like rockstar728, I’d like the option of a steering wheel. I know my wife would never adapt to a joystick or a vehicle without the usual accelerator and brake pedals.

    Comment by BeerBrewer — October 8, 2008 @ 8:40 am

  18. To ira

    Your Prius is not drive by wire!

    Steering: Rack-and-pinion with electric power-assist

    Braking: Power-assisted ventilated front disc/rear drum with Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and integrated regenerative braking. Fluid activated with a mechcanical emergancy brake.

    This did sound interesting though:
    Throttle: Multi-point EFI with Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence.
    This information comes strait from the Toyota website.

    Don’t get me wrong I’m keeping a very open mind about the Joystick controls that the Dagne offers. I’m only concerned about what happens if there is a lost of power to the joystick control system. Drive by wire requires power for the electronic controls to function. With no mechcanical connection to steering or braking would leave you with no way to pull safely over to the side of the road in case of a total lost of power to the Joystick control system. You can have all of the redundate electronic connection in the world, but without power they would be useless.

    Comment by jmeineck — October 15, 2008 @ 10:08 am

  19. Power for critical functions is redundant as well 🙂
    Rest assured – safety is our #1 concern

    Comment by Ben Werner — October 15, 2008 @ 2:21 pm

  20. Thanks Ben!

    Comment by jmeineck — October 21, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

  21. I suggested a joystick last year on the VV forum and got shot down rather soundly. I actually do not know why so many of the folks there are so against the idea. For so many reasons I think that it a good idea and a lot safer.

    The thought that a bumpy road may send you out of control does not wash for me – as someone else stated your arm should be firmly resting on the arm rest and thus your arm, hand and joystick move together lessening the effect of the bumps. Also I’d expect that the electronic steering controls will be (should be) able to filter out fast transient inputs. On modern jet aircraft, control surface movement speed (slew rate) and maximum deflection are determined by the airspeed. The same could be applied here – at higher speeds abrupt movements (which are dangerous) should be limited.

    Also consider that there is no steering column to impale you.

    Driving with a stick will also require a change in your driving habits – no more reading the paper, doing your make-up or shaving (or playing musical instruments) while moving – you hand should be on the stick at all times while moving. Much safer and I expect that one would pay much more attention to what they are doing.

    For fitting a steering wheel, it really should not be a real problem since everything is electronic. I’d think that it would take little work to fit one in. (I suspect that you could even retrofit one in if you really wanted) For myself, I’d design it in as a bolt-on kit and sell it as a user installable option.


    Comment by Cosgrach — October 24, 2008 @ 11:45 am

  22. KEEP THE JOYSTICK!!! That is such an awesome part of the design. It makes perfect sense. Please, please, please stick to your design!!!

    Comment by Warren11050 — November 8, 2008 @ 2:25 pm

  23. This may sound dumb but I think I would prefer a 2 joystick configuration, with possibly the right for steering and acceleration and the left for braking and other functions. It would just feel weird not to have both hands “on the wheel”, so to speak.

    Comment by remora1 — December 1, 2008 @ 12:47 pm

  24. I’m wondering if they have had any feedback from the auto insurance industry. If they are unwilling to insure a joystick controlled car or make rates prohibitively high out of fear of a new concept, you’re dead in the water.

    Comment by remora1 — December 3, 2008 @ 3:48 pm

  25. Hi,

    Is there any chance you can offer an option of steering wheel/pedal control? I like everything I read about your vehicle; I am just concerned about operating a joystick properly in emergency situation when I have to make a quick turn to avoid an accident.


    Comment by Bob — December 8, 2008 @ 1:37 am

  26. To remora1:

    There are disabled people driving vehicles with joystick conversions today. So I’m sure the insurance companies are fully aware of what the insurance needs would be for a joystick controlled vehicle.


    You and I did not get to finish our conversasion we were having on the PM forum about the pro’s and con’s of having joystick controles, because they shutdown the forum. If you would like to contact me my email is [email protected]. Please keep in touch I enjoyed our conversasions very much!!!

    Comment by jmeineck — January 5, 2009 @ 8:34 am

  27. Is there another forum? There are never any new postings at this site.

    Comment by BeerBrewer — February 11, 2009 @ 5:41 am

  28. I cant say I am in favor of a joystick. Here are my arguments.

    1) I play video games, including automotive race games with good physics (PC game Need For Speed is my personal favorite). My scores are far superior using wheel, paddle shifter, and pedals vice the stick of joy. I can certainly rank all sorts of user input devices on driving effectiveness keyboard, mouse, trackball, game controller, joystick and wheel based upon my scores. I imagine most folk can. The wheel is best for me. And that is without consideration of driving under real world dynamics like acceleration, breaking and lateral Gees from turning.

    2) I am an amateur race driver, participating in SCCA Solo (autocross). Lateral forces and control of the driver’s body genuinely matter when driving on the performance edge. In the sport we typically make very sure our butt and shoulders are planted using various kinds of harness. Even so, we are trained to modify steering grip to 9 and 3 with grip transitions at the top and bottom in order to minimize the effects of our shoulders being pulled in a turn. I also ride bikes (not to mention ski) and do understand that carving a turn translates the lateral forces into body-vertical, but it isnt hard to imagine turning hard and having body weight increasingly pulling on the stick in the same direction.

    3) Under normal driving conditions, you want to set the throttle and forget about it for long periods of time (run the speed limit or cruise control). But steering, even driving in a straight line requires constant attention. On a joystick, throttle/brake and steering are always slightly coupled by the simple act of gripping it in your hand. Going back to my first observation about game scores, I do better with a game controller if the throttle/brake and steering are assigned to separate sticks on the controller verses assigning them to the same stick.

    I want an energy efficient enclosed commuter trike. A steering wheel or a bike yoke will get it done for me. There may well be other styles of user interface controls that I would find acceptable. I wont be buying one with a joystick controller, however.

    Comment by Robert Ehresman — July 30, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

  29. A new unique vehicle like a 3-wheeled, enclosed, TILTING, small commuting vehicle DESERVES the improvements provided by a ‘Revolutionary’ Joystick control system! The added space, improved safety (no steering column), and the ‘openness’ in a small, compact vehicle will be a major BONUS.
    The ability to ‘shift’ the controls from left to right armrest (or even a center position, with an optional ‘breakaway’ center console) should be an easy requirement for a ‘Plug-n-Play’ joystick module, requiring only some inexpensive additional wiring, and a ‘plug’ for the unused position/s. This would not only be beneficial for those with a ‘handicap’ on one side or the other, but make it easy for those that don’t think they can ‘learn’ to drive with only their Left or Right hand.
    The concern about inadvertent control inputs due to ‘lateral forces’ during turns, should NOT be a problem since the Dagne will ’tilt’ in turns, and besides, it has not GROUNDED fighter aircraft that experience far greater ‘G’ forces, than we will ever see.
    p.s. (You can assign the Dagne from the poster above [who doesn’t like the Joystick], to ME)!!!!!

    Comment by Roger W. — August 17, 2009 @ 8:01 pm

  30. I’m willing to give the joystick a fair shot. People like a wheel and pedals because that is what they learned on and are used to using. I do however feel that joysticks should be installed on both left and right sides as standard so switching tired hands is easily facilitated. Possibly even a rear joystick with limited functionality for emergency use.
    Also some form of cruise control should be developed for longer trips to relieve arm stress. The joystick could return to a null position when cruise is engaged so only minimal steering corrections need be input. Moving the joystick past the current power setting or a bit into braking would disengage or pause the cruise function.
    I feel the entire venture does hinge on just how well the joystick works.

    I look forward to new developments with this innovative vehicle.

    Comment by Cdog — October 20, 2009 @ 2:35 pm

  31. Any luck in locating a talented software engineer (and avid ‘gamer’) to devote some spare time in coming up with a ‘joystick module’ that can be ‘ported’ into one of the popular auto racing games? It would be great ‘practice’ for us potential Dagne drivers (and may assist your R&D) to have a working ‘test bed’ for people to see how JOYSTICK CONTROL can be a beneficial and safe alternative to the OLD ‘steering wheel & pedals’ system. You would not have to design a ’tilting’ Dagne video vehicle (but that would be a BONUS), just use the ‘joystick plug-in’ to control the ‘existing’ cars in the game. I’d even be willing to purchase a new gaming system & video racing game, just to try it out!

    Comment by Roger W. — December 1, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

  32. Ben, looks like the Dagne is not the only ‘vehicle’ looking at Joystick control, this article about Toyota and Tokai Rika, even has a video ‘simulator’ game program (a very good idea to demonstrate capabilities and gain acceptance):

    Comment by Roger W. — January 8, 2010 @ 11:17 am

  33. Thanks for the find Roger – I hadn’t seen that before. It’s good to know that Toyota is experimenting with joystick control – it provides more reference points to our approach in the industry. I think we’ll get a joystick to market before Toyota though 🙂

    Comment by Ben Werner — January 8, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

  34. Hey Ben, its been a year since my suggestion of a ‘video simulator’ of joystick control for video racing games. I’d bet that if you approached some Race Gaming Forums; you could find some talented people/person to come up with a workable ‘plug-in’ that would simulate your JOYSTICK CONTROL system. Probably pretty ‘reasonable’ also (maybe a ‘guaranteed’ place in line, or ‘discount’ on their purchase). They may even be able to design a ‘Virtual Dagne’ to race other cars with. This would also get a whole ‘New Generation’ of JOYSTICK DRIVERS, ready to step into the ‘cockpit’ when you go into Production.

    Comment by Roger W. — December 30, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

  35. Your suggestion remains a good one Roger. However, right now all our efforts are focused on building the production vehicle (pre-production prototype to be exact)

    Comment by Ben Werner — January 2, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

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