Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the automaker will deliver a car without a steering wheel within 2 years – an important change in Tesla’s self-driving strategy.
Yesterday, Tesla was holding an ‘Autonomy Day’ for investors during which it has made several presentations about its effort to bring to market a full self-driving system.
We posted an article on Pete Bannon’s presentation about Tesla’s new Full Self-Driving computer. which CEO Elon Musk claims is ‘objectively the best chip in the world’.
You can visit our Tesla Autonomy Event news hub for all coverage of the series of presentations and announcements made by the automaker at the event today.
Unlike most other companies working on self-driving systems, Tesla is taking the approach of delivering vehicles to customers that they can use right now as regular cars but with the hardware required to eventually achieve full self-driving with future software updates.
It is completely different from companies like Waymo or Uber who are working on vehicles solely built for autonomous ride-sharing services.
GM also claims that it is bringing an autonomous Bolt EV without a steering wheel to production by the end of the year.
At the Autonomy Day, Tesla unveiled its own design for a vehicle without a steering wheel:
The CEO said that they would eventually also remove the steering wheel for their fleet of Robotaxis. He said that Tesla would literally simply unbolt the steering wheel and put a cap on the dash cutout where the steering column is currently located.
“I think there will be a transition period where people are able to take over from the robotaxi but once regulators are comfortable with us not having a steering wheel, we will just delete that.”
He said that for cars that are already on the fleet, Tesla would offer retrofits to owners.
Many speculated that Tesla’s Model 3 interior design was built around working just as well without a steering wheel and this image sort of prove their point.
Musk says that consumers will eventually be asking for it:
“The probability of the steering wheel being taken away is 100%. Consumers will demand it.”
He predicted that “consumers will demand that people are not allowed to drive these 2-ton death machines” and therefore, it will make sense to take away the steering wheel.
Ever since we saw the original Model 3 design, we have been intrigued by what it would like without a steering wheel due to the symmetry of the dashboard and whether that was taken into account by Tesla for a self-driving future.
It looks like we have our answer now.
It’s also interesting how Elon talks about offering retrofits to remove the steering wheel to current owners. If you look at where the steering column comes out of the dash in the Model 3, it indeed seems like it would be easy to make it look like there never was a steering wheel coming out of the dash.
I think it all makes sense. The only thing I am more concerned about is the timeline.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
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