The Tesla Model Y Comact Cross, introduced in 2019, could have been released without a steering wheel. According to Business Insider, citing a book by American reporter Tim Higgins about Tesla, during the development process, disagreements arose between the company’s director Elon Musk and the engineers led by Doug Field. As a result, the model still received a steering wheel, despite Musk’s intentions – but Field lost his place in the company.
Musk believed that the Model Y would simply not need a steering wheel: the model will be equipped with a full-fledged autopilot, which, according to his forecast, should have appeared by the spring of 2020. The company’s engineers, led by Doug Field, did not share the boss’s opinion. As a result, they designed the cabin behind Musk’s back while adding the familiar steering wheel.
At the same time, Field complained about Musk’s desire to intervene in all development processes and control everything down to the smallest detail. A controversy between Field and Musk led to the chief engineer resigning in mid-2018.
The head of Tesla is confident that thanks to the development of autonomous systems, the steering wheel will no longer be needed, and the customers themselves will ask to remove it from the passenger compartment. However, this requires a “transition period” for the use of robotic taxis, which are still being tested.
“As soon as the adjusters allow us to remove the steering wheel, we will,” Musk said back in 2019.
As of today, Tesla’s advanced Full Self-Driving system is only available in beta. Moreover, it is being tested, among other things, by owners of electric cars, for which the company is attacked by experts who fear for the safety of both the drivers themselves and those around them – after all, the autopilot is tested on ordinary roads. Musk himself admits that the technology is far from perfect, and urges to “be paranoid”, ready for failures.
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