The next Tesla model is about to take automatic cars and make them even more automatic. The new Tesla Model S and Model X (which sound just a little too close to Microsoft’s new-gen Xbox) will automatically shift between “park”, “reverse”, “drive” and “neutral” so you won’t need to ever touch a gear stick again. Which will undoubtedly be extremely uncomfortable for many people the first time they see it action but it also sounds really cool!
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and man who’s doing his best to be the first organic, walking internet meme was making a case for the automatic shifting on Twitter. “Car guesses drive direction based on what obstacles it sees, context & nav map. You can override on touchscreen.” There must be some brilliant AI in play to figure all that out but if any car company could pull off something as ridiculous as this, it would be Tesla.
Tesla wants to remove the stalks
An internal memo regarding the Autopilot sensors was picked up by Electrek which contained more details as to how the feature works. “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,” reads the memo.
It’ll be a weird experience driving around without some kind of manual control over the gears. Safety concerns are no doubt a factor but the decisions of the sensors can be overridden via the touchscreen interface. Having said that, one also has to imagine that the first few generations of this technology will need to develop over time to really compare with a human driver. Still, this takes the potential for self-driving cars even closer to fruition so we hope that it works out in the end.
Elon Musk expressed even more excitement for the idea on Twitter saying, “After you drive without using a PRND stalk/stick for a few days, it gets very annoying to go back & use a shifter!”
(Source: The Verge)