Tesla Files For Touchscreen Steering Wheel Patent

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) has filed a patent for a new steering wheel with three touchscreens and technology that replaces the need for the gear stalk.

Benzinga · 02/07/2020 12:34

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) has filed a patent for a new steering wheel with three touchscreens and technology that replaces the need for the gear stalk.

What Happened

The patent summary describes the steering wheel in which the user interface is provided on ‘at least one portion’ of the steering wheel.

“The user interface recognizes gesture movements made by a user and allows navigation of a set of controls associated with a menu based on the gesture movements made by the user.” Touchscreens on the steering wheel would be able to give haptic feedback.

According to the patent in vehicles that support autonomous driving inputs such as handwriting or complex gestures may be available. These types of inputs would be deemed ‘too distracting’ when used by humans, even with driver-assist functionality.

The patent application lists Felix Godard and Joris Aerts as the designer and engineer for the new concept steering wheel, according to Electrek. Godard has since left Tesla for Lucid Motors, Inc. Aerts, too, has left the company.

Why It Matters

Tesla wants more drivers to keep their hands on the wheels. The company has even added nags in the past to force that behavior.

Other manufacturers too also toyed with the idea of touchscreens in the past to keep drivers engaged with the steering wheel. Automotive technology supplier and tire manufacturer Continental AG (OTC: CTTAY) showcased touchscreen technology in 2016 that allowed for gestures instead of the usual buttons or touch-sensitive surfaces on steering wheels.

Price Action

Tesla shares traded 3.47% lower at $723.00 in the pre-market session at press time. On Thursday, Tesla shares had closed 1.94% higher at US$748.96.