Game controller for steering

Vessels are operated on a bridge in a large room with a multiple-station setup. They are equipped with chairs that move around the room in a semicircle in order to reach all the different controls.[1] Current navigation and maneuvering equipment includes helicopter-style joysticks, steering wheels, throttle levers, mice, roller balls, switches, dials, and buttons.

Ergonomic, durable, and intuitive designs for controlling complex operations have evolved thanks to the gaming industry. For periscope handling on submarines, the US Navy has started to swap out their expensive complex panels and sticks, cutting costs from $38,000 for the current setup to $20 for the game controller.[1,2]

Game controllers would standardize bridge operations, making it easier for pilots to navigate vessels with less training.[3] Furthermore, controllers can be kept in reserve and swapped out if they break or malfunction.[3] 

When will it become accepted practice that vessels are operated by game controllers?

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[1] Liptak, A., (2018), The US Navy’s newest submarine comes with an Xbox controller
[2] Andrews, T., (2017), The Navy’s adding a new piece of equipment to nuclear submarines: Xbox controllers
[3] Allison, P., (2014), The surprising uses of games controllers

By Matthew J. Spaniol