The autonomous car industry has been under intense scrutiny in the last few weeks, following a self-driving Uber vehicle’s fatal crash with a pedestrian and a more recent Tesla Model X car accident that killed the driver while Autopilot was engaged. And as carmakers and technologists alike look for ways to mitigate the danger involved with autonomous vehicles, Tesla is looking to make it a bit easier to control its Autopilot feature.
The company recently released an update that adjusts the controls for the self-driving option from the center infotainment console to the easier-to-access steering wheel. That way, drivers should be able to keep their eyes on the road as they adjust Autopilot’s speed and other aspects — something that they — a bit shockingly — were unable to do before.
The update will be rolled out to Tesla’s Model 3, a car that has been in high demand (but low production) for months on end. Because the car is meant to be as minimalist as possible, different features on the car aren’t actually labeled. That means that the controls on the vehicle’s steering wheels can actually be changed depending on the driver’s needs (or Tesla’s whims).
As per the latest update, when you’re in Traffic-Aware Cruise Control mode, you’ll just need to roll the right-hand scroll button either up or down to increase or decrease your speed. In order to adjust the distance between your own car and the one in front of it, push the right button either to the left or the right. While you can still adjust these same settings from the touchscreen, this update adds some additional functionality and control to the driving experience.
Tesla noted in its update notes that the left scroll button will now allow you to “adjust your Model 3 side mirrors and steering wheel. Start by tapping the Controls icon on the bottom left corner of the touchscreen and then tap Quick Controls > Adjustments.” You can also adjust your mirrors by tapping Mirrors and then selecting the Left or Right mirror icon. “Then, scroll the left button up or down, or press it left or right.” You can similarly adjust the steering wheel using the same process (you’ll need to tap the Steering Wheel option, of course).
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