How to make the yoke handy in a car
The idea of steering a car by a yoke have been around for decades. Probably with some inspiration from the aerospace industry. But for automotive applications, the steering wheel is almost without competition. There are some interesting caveats to overcome for a yoke to become comfortable or even safe for road cars.
In low speeds, like parking manoeuvring, the steering ratio must be fast enough so you don’t need to change the grip on the yoke, otherwise you might miss to grab it while it is rotating. Besides being annoying, the passengers in the car might wonder if you even have a drivers’ licence when you fail with the simplest of manoeuvring basics. The fast steering ratio for parking will make the car way too nervous for normal speeds. This can be solved with a variable ratio by steer-by-wire or even an angle overlay system, with high attention to tuning to make a smooth speed transition.
Another driving case, that is more safety related, is the possibility to counter steer in an oversteer situation. If the ratio is fast enough to achieve the large steer angle required (without having the problematic retake on a yoke) it is also most likely too nervous for everyday driving. So, in this case, variable ratio is not a solution. Stability management is the solution instead, making sure the car follows the driver’s intentions without loss of control, even in the most demanding manoeuvres.
About Lars Markström
Vehicle Dynamics Attribute Leader, Lars Markström, at Sentient is an experienced vehicle dynamics Engineer. Few know as well as Lars how experienced drivers – and non experts – perceive and act on road conditions and upcoming situations. In articles on this website, marked “By Lars”, he reflects and go into details about vehicle dynamics, its history and development.