Tesla has unveiled its refreshed Model S and Model X, including a radically redesigned steering wheel and an absent gear shifter.
Whether automatic or standard, the gear shifter has been a major part of almost every vehicle ever made. Leave it to Tesla to rethink it…and ditch it.
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
Electrek got a look at an internal Tesla document that discusses how the vehicles will know which drive mode to active:
The vehicle uses its Autopilot sensors to intelligently and automatically determine intended drive modes and select them. For example, if the front of Model S/X is facing a garage wall, it will detect this and automatically shift to Reverse once the driver presses the brake pedal. This eliminates one more step for the drivers of the world’s most intelligent production cars.
According to Electrek, “Tesla is making sure that people are not too confused about it by adding force touch controls for ‘Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive’ drive modes at the base of the phone charger on the center console.”
Needless to say, this is a huge departure from what people are familiar with, but Tesla has built an entire business of upending the traditional auto. This is one of those features many people will probably wonder how they ever lived without.