Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) – Tesla’s touchscreen-based gear selection doesn’t break the rules, says NHTSA

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) is always pushing to improve its vehicles in ways never seen before. Earlier this week, we saw the first video showing how to change gears on the updated Tesla Model S, which no longer has a traditional gear selector lever like most other vehicles.

Tesla hopes that most of the time the car will be able to intelligently select the gear it wants, but if the driver wants something different, it can easily be selected on the screen forward, reverse or neutral.

As with Tesla’s yoke flywheel, some were concerned that this new method of gear selection would not be allowed due to federal regulations. But in a statement to The Verge, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has confirmed that touchscreen-based controls do not violate any rules. NHTSA also confirmed Tesla certified compliance with all safety standards.

NHTSA Quote:

A properly configured transmission shift control operated via a touch screen interface would not violate federal motor vehicle safety regulations. Additionally, Tesla has certified compliance with all applicable safety standards. At this time, there are no known compliance issues related to change control settings.

Although unconfirmed, the pictures of the new interior make it appear that gear selection is also possible from a button on the steering wheel. It seems that customers can choose whether they want to change gears on the screen or with a physical button. In any case, Tesla’s goal is that most of the time the car should handle the gear change without driver intervention.

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Photo courtesy of Tesla.

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