hridge2020

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Hi tech steering wheel

Tesla has a new high-tech steering wheel with touchscreens and haptic feedback

February 6, 2020

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Tesla wants to reinvent the wheel… the steering wheel, that is. The automaker is working on a new steering wheel-based user interface with a bunch of new features, including one replacing the gear stalk, a bunch of touchscreens, haptic feedback, and more, according to a new patent filing.

In order to change gear on a Tesla vehicle, you use a gear stalk attached to the steering wheel, which is uncommon in passenger vehicles other than trucks.

Now it looks like Tesla might be going a step further by removing the gear stalk altogether.

Tesla has filed a new patent for a new steering wheel-based user interface that includes touchscreens on each side and one at the bottom, which replaces the gear stalk, according to the images in the patent filing, as shown above.

They wrote in the filing:

The user interface of the steering wheel may additionally include indicators provided at a lower portion of the steering wheel indicative of a selected gear engagement of the vehicle. For example, the user interface may provide illuminated indications of engagement of Park, Reverse, Neutral, or Drive modes. Additionally or optionally, the steering wheel may include RFID detection and NFC activation functionality.
Here are a few more drawings from Tesla’s new patent application:

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Tesla says that the interactions with the touchscreens can be reflected on the center console.

The automaker describes how the driver interacts with the new steering wheel:

By interacting with the user interface provided on the steering wheel, the user may able to select, update, and/or navigate through a menu of controls. Further, based on the gestures performed on and recognized by the user interface, the user may also receive feedback of the selections made with respect to the set or menu of controls. This interaction of the user may be manifested through gesture movements made directly on the user interface and/or based on indication of the user’s intention to interact with the user interface that may be estimated by ascertaining when the user’s digits approach the user interface. For example, through proximity sensors, the user interface may sense that the user’s digit is approaching a control manipulation functionality on the user interface, causing the user interface to provide feedback to the user.
Tesla is also thinking ahead for when its vehicles will be able to self-drive without driver attention being necessary.

They are planning some features for when that comes:

For example, when a vehicle supports autonomous driving, the inputs may include more inputs requiring more additional gestures. The inputs may access functionality that would be too distracting when driven by a human driver, even with driver-assist functionality, such as television or other display, or multimedia functionality. In embodiments, the input may be handwriting or other complex gestures.
 
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Garden_Aum

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It is an interesting design. I would prefer not to have my vehicle interface in the same place as the airbag. Another consideration is the orientation of the screen when one is turning the steering wheel. Will the center portion of the steering wheel remain stationary? who knows? We will just have to see what comes of it. Tesla has developed things that have not been brought to market in the past.
Tesla Charger Snake
 

BillyGee

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It is an interesting design. I would prefer not to have my vehicle interface in the same place as the airbag.
You mean you don't like having a claymore mine pointed directly at your face?
 

Jhodgesatmb

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Wasn’t the Cybertruck steering wheel more like an aircraft type yoke? Would it still work in this design? Also, if moving the gear stalk controls to the steering wheel, why not both of the stalks? Why stop in the middle of a concept?
 

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It is an interesting design. I would prefer not to have my vehicle interface in the same place as the airbag.
From the look of the design, the user interface surfaces would be on the three support beams extending from the center of the steering wheel to the outer ring, not on the center of the steering wheel itself which houses the airbag.
 

VI Tesla

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I'm a fan of the minimalist approach they took with the Model 3.
In my opinion it sets the vehicle so far apart from all the rest of the EVs, where they're craming so many screens across the dashboard you'd think it was a Los Vegas strip, far too distracting.
I'd much rather see a really cool HUD display, that you could toggle on or off. I read an article that the flat pane of glass is perfectly suited to this.
 

BillyGee

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Wasn’t the Cybertruck steering wheel more like an aircraft type yoke?
That was just the concept wheel and to my knowledge those aren't production legal. The model X and model 3 we're shown with the same wheels when they were revealed.
 

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You mean you don't like having a claymore mine pointed directly at your face?
Exactly. No claymore to the face. I remember the training; face toward enemy is clearly printed on them. There was nothing about 'face toward driver'.
 

Jhodgesatmb

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That was just the concept wheel and to my knowledge those aren't production legal. The model X and model 3 we're shown with the same wheels when they were revealed.
I didn’t know that. Too bad. I think that I’d prefer a yoke. I rarely use the top of the wheel now and it gets in the way of the view.
 

lukefrisbee

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yeah. well. Whatever....
BUT I really think having ANYTHING that a driver will have any reason to change on the fly should be through buttons and knobs.
With buttons and knobs you can find them without looking. I don't need to look down to change the AC. I am not trying to touch the right part of a flat screen which provides me with no tactile landmarks..and then I have to look at it to see it actually worked? Or worse yet go through multiple screens/looks?
 

Jhodgesatmb

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yeah. well. Whatever....
BUT I really think having ANYTHING that a driver will have any reason to change on the fly should be through buttons and knobs.
With buttons and knobs you can find them without looking. I don't need to look down to change the AC. I am not trying to touch the right part of a flat screen which provides me with no tactile landmarks..and then I have to look at it to see it actually worked? Or worse yet go through multiple screens/looks?
Everyone, not just Tesla, is trying to improve all of this with better voice control. I expect these things to continue improvement as time goes on. Personally I don’t do anything blind in my car so every time I change a setting I am looking away.
 

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After driving the same Jeep layout for the last 2 cars I still catch myself turning up the air when I adjust the volume on the radio if I don’t look. They are the same dial located close together. I find I use the touchscreen more to adjust the minor things and for the lights or the wipers the auto settings are faster than I am. When the windshield gets covered the wipers kick in and I don’t have to move my hands of the steering wheel.
 
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