CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla is bringing its Autopilot-based “Smart Shift” drive mode shifter to Model 3 and Model Y.
But those who don’t like the feature will be happy to know that it is an option.
When Tesla officially unveiled the new Model S and Model X refresh, one of the most controversial features was the new steering wheel.
It has a “butterfly” shape, but the actual biggest change is the fact that Tesla removed all the stalks from the steering wheel and replaced the controls by force touch buttons on the wheel.
We did a deep dive on the steering wheel based on information that we obtained in a document Tesla shared with its staff after the launch in January.
Even the stalk for gear shifting from drive, reverse, neutral to parked is gone, and we learned that Tesla replaced it with something called “Smart Shift,” which uses Autopilot sensors and AI to automatically determine which gear the car should be in.
Tesla wrote in the document obtained by Electrek:
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.
While Tesla aims for this to be the main way to change gears inside the vehicle, the automaker also kept some manual ways to change gears, including on the touchscreen and with force touch buttons on the center console.
Now, CEO Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter that the Smart Shift feature is coming to all vehicles equipped with Full Self-Driving package:
“You don’t even need to touch the shifter in new Model S. Auto detect direction will come as an optional setting to all cars with FSD.”
It means that the feature is coming to Model 3 and Model Y, but Musk did specify that it will be “optional,” which should mean that Tesla plans to keep the stalk on those vehicles’ steering wheels.
The feature is something that Tesla is working on for its goal to deliver a true full self-driving system.
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