Tesla CEO Elon Musk said eventually Tesla's cars will shift themselves based on their "awareness" of their surroundings. While that doesn't yet seem to be the case, perhaps this new, unique shifting feature is a step in that direction.


Since the refreshed Tesla Model S no longer has a traditional stalk on the steering column, drivers must use the touch screen to shift gears. This comes as no surprise since Tesla's vehicles rely on their large touch screens for nearly all in-car features. It's important to note that the new steering wheel also has buttons to control certain features.

Tesla plans to add a "Smart Shift" feature that uses its Autopilot hardware and Artificial Intelligence to decide when to shift, as well as which direction to travel. In a recent video showcasing what appears to be Tesla's Version 11 in-car software, the Smart Shift feature was actually revealed on the screen. However, as far as we know, there's no footage of the feature in action. In a document secure by Electrek, Tesla writes:

"The vehicle uses its Autopilot sensors to intelligently and automatically determine intended drive modes and select them. For example, if the front of Model S/X is facing a garage wall, it will detect this and automatically shift to Reverse once the driver presses the brake pedal. This eliminates one more step for the drivers of the world’s most intelligent production cars."

With that said, Twitter user Michael Hsu shared a very brief video showing precisely how you shift "gears" in the car.


As you can clearly see from the video, Hsu is simply dragging his finger up or down to change gears. While dragging up puts the Model S in Drive, dragging down switches it to Reverse. It seems very intuitive, though some may complain it shifts the driver's eyes to the middle of the car, and away from the road ahead.

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