Earlier this year, Tesla announced that they would be releasing a redesigned Model S and Model X. While most people were expecting major cosmetic upgrades, the fundamental changes were a little more usability-related.
Instead, Tesla has decided that gear selectors are a thing of the past. Gone is the gear selector stalk that used to feature on Teslas. Instead, shifting is now automated, while you also get “backup” touchscreen options. In this, a car icon on the touch screen should be dragged up or down, depending on your preferred direction.
— Michael Hsu (@hsumacher) March 24, 2021
On Joe Rogan’s podcast, Musk explained how he tested the new technology and was pleased with the results. However, according to innovator Elon Musk, this new initiative is just a backup. Musk is adamant that the new Model S and X will figure out how to do the gear switching for you. “Car guesses drive direction based on what obstacles it sees, context & nav map”, tweeted the billionaire in January. Musk states that after you have driven without a PRND stick for a few days, going back to it seems very annoying and old-fashioned. But it’s only now that we’ve got a glimpse of how exactly this will work.
No more stalks. Car guesses drive direction based on what obstacles it sees, context & nav map. You can override on touchscreen.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 28, 2021
The Verge reports that an internal document obtained by Electrek after the announcement revealed that the new Tesla would “automatically shift to reverse once the driver presses the brake pedal” if the car realized that there was a solid object in front of it.
Musk is infamous for pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with his designs which is a major contributing factor to the success of his ventures. However, it remains to be seen just how the regulatory bodies view the new additions to Tesla’s.
Tesla isn’t the first company to try and change how gear selection works; however, federal motor vehicle safety standards are strict about how PRND is displayed to the driver, making it a significant challenge to overcome.