Palm Interface Has You Suggest Where Self Driving Car Should Go

These days, our automobiles sport glittering consoles adorned with dials and digits to keep us up-to-date with our car’s vitals. In the future, though, perhaps we just wont need such vast amounts of information at our fingertips if our cars are driving themselves around. No information? How will we tell the car what to do? On that end, [Felix] has us covered with Stewart, a tactile gesture-input interface for the modern, self driving car.

Stewart is a 6-DOF “Stewart Interface” capable of both gesture input and haptic-output. Gesture input enables the car’s passenger to deliver driving suggestions to the car. The gentle twist of a wrist can signal an upcoming turn at the next intersection; pulling back on Stewart’s head “joystick style” signals a “whoa–slow down, there, bub!” Haptic output via 6 servos pushes around Stewart’s head in the car’s intended direction.  If the passenger agrees with the car, she can let Stewart gesture itself in the desired direction; if she disagrees; she can veto the car’s choices by moving her hand directly against Stewart’s current output gesture. Overall, the interface unites the intentions of the car and the intentions of the passenger with a haptic device that makes the connection feel seamless!

We know we’re not supposed to comment on the “how” with art projects–but we’re engineers–and this one makes us giddy with delight. We’re imagining those rc car shock absorbers dramatically dampening the jittery servos and giving the user a nice resistive feel. Interconnects are laser cut acrylic, and the shell is a smoothly contoured 3d print. We’ve seen Stewart Interfaces before, but nothing with the look-and-feel of a sleek design feature on its way to being dropped into the cockpit of our future self-driving cars.

via [CreativeApplications]


24 thoughts on “Palm Interface Has You Suggest Where Self Driving Car Should Go

  1. Reminded me of the 3dconnexion Spacemouse, until i saw this one has a feedback-mechanism.
    If i ever get a self driving car, i would not want to have a way to control it tho. I to tell it where i want to go by announcing my destination, strap myself into the lounge chair, order a drink from the minibar and leave the choice of route and driving to the destination completely to the car/computer…

    1. The problem is we need routing to become a LOT smarter. I use Waze and that is the best for having traffic information, but it is still massively delayed. most of the time I end up in the traffic jam and then 5 minutes later it shows up. self driving cars should be required by law to report their location and current speed only with no identifiers to a public traffic data repository so that other cars can see that 12 cars in front of it on that same road are slowing down to a stop, time to take the next exit to go around the traffic stop.

      Waze could do this, but they dont do any automatic traffic slowing calculations for some wierd reason.

      1. ” self driving cars should be required by law to report their location and current speed only with no identifiers to a public traffic data repository”

        That’s a really bad idea, because it doesn’t take much to track who the car belongs to – simply by observing where it stops.

    1. Well if you have a car with all wheel drive, active suspension, and all wheels capable of turning, then you no longer have a 2-DOF system. With all wheels powered and steered, you can move the car in any direction and rotate while doing so. With the active suspension, you could change the ride height, adjust pitch and roll of the car, or adjust the force applied to each tire.

      This sort of stuff is being considered for next-generation military vehicles that need to be maneuverable on rough terrain.

  2. Well it’s nice but I’d say that it goes slightly against the idea of what autonomous car is supposed to be… To me it should work like this – you get in the car, say ” I want to go home” and it should drive you there without your intervention, whilst communicating with other autonomous cars around, getting traffic information from somewhere, scanning the surrounding of the car etc. IMHO you shouldn’t be able to directly affect the “behavior” of the car. You want it to stop? Say “stop here” etc… perhaps this would be useful for someone with some sort of speach impairment.
    So the answer to the question “How will we tell the car what to do?” should be you don’t. Tell it where to go that’s all.

    1. I don’t think it’s for navigation, I think its a way of getting the car to do other things in a safe way. Say for example you want to slow down for a bit to look at something out of the window. It would be unsafe to just let the passenger brake whenever they want, but using something like this, the car knows that the passenger wants to slow down, and can then manage that safely based on it’s knowledge of the surroundings.
      Another example might be overtaking a truck despite it travelling at the speed limit, jst out of a desire to be able to see the road/ escape the diesel fumes

    2. When you’re a passenger in a car, you become road-sick because you can’t anticipate what the car will do. The driver rarely gets that.

      With your hand resting on the joystick, you can feel what the car is thinking about doing and avoid the effect.

      And, because the AIs are dumb as hammers, they still need the occasional guidance around potholes and roadworks, or when driving in unmapped territory such as parking the car onto a temporary car park on a field at an event etc. so the elegant solution is to give the passenger a joystick instead of a full set of pedals and a wheel.

  3. All I can say is meh. It’s neat, would probably be cool in an RC interface. Would make it super easy to fly a quadcopter or a prop plane. Driving a car though…not really sure how effective that would be. I realize I wouldn’t be effectively controlling the car, more of communicating with movements. The feedback is neat. But if my car decided to disagree with me, it’s going to be a trade-in.

  4. This is awesome as an input device. But targeting autonomous cars is a little confusing since it has 6 DoF. Also, are those just regular servos? How do you provide input? Just force the servos into position harder than they can resist? Will they last long using them like that?

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