With joystick steering , the steering of vehicles with a joystick is referred to as a combined control unit. The joystick has a hand or finger lever that can be moved forwards and backwards as well as laterally across it. Movements and positions combined from the longitudinal and transverse directions are also possible. Depending on the version, the joystick can also be returned to its neutral zero position by spring force if it is not operated.
The joystick usually converts the movement and the current position into electrical signals. With these, in turn, electrical and / or subsequent hydraulic actuating elements are caused to effect a steering angle or directional adjustment of the front wheels and to control the actuating elements for the motor control and the brakes according to the fore-and-aft movement of the lever.
Joystick steering is currently mainly used on work machines / construction machinery , aircraft and electric vehicles such as electric wheelchairs . Rail vehicles are now also controlled with a joystick that has been reduced to the fore-and-aft level.
For people who cannot operate the standard steering wheel , there is occasional joystick steering in motor vehicles for road traffic as part of the motor vehicle adaptation for physically handicapped people . One advantage here is that the control panel can be individually adapted to different requirements and ranges for operation with the hand , a finger , the knee or with the toes of the foot.