Tesla’s touchscreen gear selector has no ‘compliance issues’, says NHTSA


It can’t break any rules, but it doesn’t seem completely user-friendly at first glance.

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Despite mixed feelings in the auto industry about how the update Tesla Model S presents the ability to shift gears through a screen, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told Roadshow on Monday that the system had “no compliance issues.”

Videos of the updated Model S electric sedan and its touchscreen shifting system resurfaced last week, which raised questions about the safety of the operation for motorists. The driver “shifts” the car in or out of reverse by pulling and dragging an icon on the touchscreen. You can see the icon at the top left of the screen in the photo above. The neutral gear is located deeper in the menus, while it is not yet clear how the car shifts into park.

In a statement, NHTSA told Roadshow that it was aware of the system being developed by Tesla and that “a properly configured and operated shift control through a touch screen interface would not violate safety standards federal motor vehicles “.

“Additionally, Tesla has certified compliance with all applicable safety standards,” NHTSA said. “At this time, there are no known compliance issues with the shift control configuration.”

By federal law, all automakers must self-certify that a vehicle meets all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards, which Tesla has done for the updated Model S and other vehicles that will use. this system. However, owners are still able to report safety concerns to NHTSA, which may lead to a review of the self-certification process.

CEO Elon Musk first opened this particular box of worms in January, after revealing the new Model S and Model X, “guess the direction of driving based on obstacles it sees, the context and the navigation map” in a tweet. Tesla does not operate a public relations department to respond to requests for comment and has not specified how exactly that would work.

But, for now, NHTSA says it’s OK. As for the other controversial part of the Model S and Model X, the yoke ruffle, we have not yet heard whether the government agency has made a component decision. NHTSA declined to comment further on the yoke.

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