Looks like the steering wheel is heading out into the pasture with the 8-track tape and vinyl record.
Lately we've seen a few futuristic concept cars that sport aircraft-like dashboards and controls, so the news that Toyota is experimenting with joystick control isn't all that surprising. Frankly, gripping an airplane-type controller with two hands seems a bit more safer, however the joystick scenario--along with collision-detection artificial intelligence--may be the way to go in the next decade.
According to PC World, Toyota demonstrated the joystick control in a few concept cars today at the Tokyo Motor Show. The site describes the first concept car, the FT-EV II, as an electric car built for short trips. Despite its extreme compact design, the car provides seating for four passengers, and uses drive-by-wire technology that enables the dual-stick (one for the left-handed, one for the right-handed perhaps) joystick control.
PC World also said that the second concept car, the i-Real, looked more like a futuristic chair on wheels than an actual automobile. This concept car also uses two joysticks developed by Tokai Rika, one at the end of each armrest. This vehicle provides seating for only one passenger, and uses no pedals whatsoever.
PC World added that developer Tokai Rika displayed two additional prototypes at its booth as well, with one system using only one joystick. Moving the joystick left and right turned the car in the intended direction, while pushing the joystick forward accelerated the car, and pulling back slowed it down. The other prototype incorporated thumb buttons that controlled the acceleration and braking. Scary.