It might be just a coincidence, but we think not. Tesla is suddenly updating their Model 3 cars, moving the Autopilot controls from the touchscreen to the steering wheel. This was announced just days after authorities established that Autopilot was on when a Model X crashed and led to the driver’s death.
Just days ago, officials stated that Autopilot was engaged when a Model X crashed into a highway lane divider and caught fire. Tesla’ self-driving system was active and send warnings in the incident that led to a person’s death.
It’s not clear whether the system detected the barrier correctly or the driver took to long to take an evasive action. Either way, the company announced an update to the technology that would help people behind the wheel keep their eyes on the road.
The main controls in the center infotainment stack, showing speed and cruise distance, will be moved to the steering wheeling in Model 3 cars.
Currently, the buttons available there are not labeled so it’s easy to assign them other functions. The right-hand scroll wheels will take over speed controls while the buttons flanking it will set follow distance when pressed. In doing so, the drivers will have more options at their fingertips and could keep their eyes focused on the road ahead.
It’s not enough to guarantee absolute safety in the vehicle, but it’s a good start.