Arduino, Processing
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Stewart – A mutually trustful interface for a fully autonomous car

Created by Felix Ros, Stewart is a hypothetical tactile interface designed for a fully autonomous car. Working around the idea that even thought self-driving offer obvious benefits, they also eliminate a sense of freedom, expression, and control while driving. Stewart’s objective is to accommodate a healthy relation between man and machine.

So why would you want to control a car that drives itself? Learning to trust a (new) technology takes time. Humans are very unpredictable creatures that tend to change their minds frequently. For example: while driving you want to make a detour or you may need a coffee break. These changes of plan can easily be communicated to the car trough Stewart.

The device has been designed to provide the user with constant updates about the car’s behaviour and its intentions. If one does not agree with the car’s next course of action, the user can manipulate Stewart to change this. Stewart will learn from the driver as they learn from Stewart, hopefully resulting in a mutually trustful relation.

Stewart uses software designed for a platform that uses 6 servo’s controlled by an Arduino. Inspired by Felix’s previous projects (one, two, three, four), Processing sketch (available here) calculates the transition of all the six degrees of freedom and feeds the information to Arduino, controlling the servos. Felix has made step by step process of making Stewart available on Instructables and you can find out more here.

Stewart is Felix’s Final Bachelor Project at the Eindhoven University of Technology / Department of Industrial Design, 2015.

Project PageFelix Ros



  • Charles Gallant

    Beautiful design and interactivity – although if the goal was to instill trust, I wonder why straying from the (very trusted, globally understood) steering wheel and pedals is necessary. Joystick-based driving has benefits, but even without the autonomous driving context, this UI is already starting from a place where most drivers will feel a lack of control (and therefore, trust). I may be missing context here :)

  • Tiago Roldão

    Well, considering that your influence over a self driving car is inherently indirect, seems to me that a steering wheel and pedals would be counterproductive – a typically direct link to the car’s motion now rendered “meaningless”. I’d imagine that turning the wheel and seeing nothing happen would be potentially very desinpowering.

  • Jerome Peloquin

    How about a neuro-interface similar to advanced flight control systems that read intention and act …?

  • Felix Ros

    The idea of a car without a steering wheel is a bit scary, I agree. However a steering wheel isn’t very expressive and will never be as rich of an interaction as Stewart (which has 6 DOF). Also Stewart is there to give you a voice in the way of driving, not to control the car. Stewart is an interpretation of this new concept, I do think the joystick type if interaction might not be ideal for a moving car. You need something to hold on to in a moving vehicle.

  • Rohitash Singh

    I like the idea of neuro-interfaces, a machine (i.e Automobile) responding based on our intention. It need high degree of synchronisation with the human mind, like our Arms, foot, etc has. It seems easy because they all are already parts of one body. Neural-interface works well in wearable technology ( coalesced with the human body), but with the Automobiles it would be little challenging ( i.e how quick response it would be, How the feeling of secondary body will be eliminated, etc) .