Tesla has a laundry list of ideas that could apply here. Although bulletproof Cybertrucks and laser windshield wipers are strong contenders, one of the silliest features Tesla has implemented is the infamous Tesla Model S steering yoke. While most of us agree that this is simply not practical for normal driving, BMW is now trying its hand at one of Tesla’s worst ideas.
Is BMW going to use a Tesla-style steering yoke?
The news of this new leaked plan comes to us via our friends at Gear Patrol, but CarBuzz uncovered the surprising U.S. patent application for the steering apparatus no one asked for.
The Tesla Steering yoke has made plenty of noise over the past year for being both exciting but ultimately completely useless in a real car. However, Tesla pushed through. While the Steering yoke started life as an option for the Model S, it is now the only steering option available for the Model.
For some reason, BMW has taken this poorly functioning steering system and made it even more unlikely to work by replacing the yoke with two L-shaped handles that fold out from the dash. However, BMW isn’t going the Tesla route of making it the only steering option for the BMW M5, for example.
Given the lack of functionality, BMW most likely plans to use this steering, uh, situation in upcoming semi-autonomous cars.
Are self-driving cars really coming?
Honestly, who knows? We can say that many automakers are spending mucho bucks in R and D within this sector. Most autonomous concept cars and general visions of the future of driving show our on-road time as a luxurious waiting room of sorts where we swivel in big chairs, play video games, and teleconference.
The idea that we will mill about and sit in multi-directional chairs is probably unlikely, at least at first. Gear Patrol makes a good point that all safety designs for our current cars, trucks, and SUVs all require passengers to be seated and facing forward. This means redesigning the cabins of our cars; safety design will have to be radically changed to adjust to our ideas of autonomous driving.
Will car joysticks replace steering wheels?
BMW, along with many other automakers, is looking forward and essentially trying to guess at what is most likely to be a part of that radical design shift. The idea is that a traditional mounted steering wheel will be unnecessary if the car does most of the driving. However, the theory seems to be that people will want an override control for some scenarios; thus, the joysticks are there to pilot the future craft if need be.
Can Teslas really drive themselves?
Not exactly. The news has been littered with stories of “self-driving” Teslas crashing and killing people. However, Elon Musk says Tesla will have level 4 autonomous cars by the end of 2022. This would likely explain why the Tesla steering yoke has made its way to the Tesla Model S. However, Musk has promised this for a good long while, and his cars are still all over emergency response vehicles like a sleazy lawyer.
The point is, as we get closer to self-driving cars existing in certain scenarios, we will likely see more new, radical design features that may pressure our traditional sensibilities. But this is nothing new. A look through automotive history will expose hundreds of crazy ideas that didn’t take and few that did.
We may have to suffer goofy yoke steering and joysticks for a little while, but they will either work and be refined, or they will disappear like 8-track players.