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Blog NHTSA Wants to Talk to Tesla About Half-Circle Steering Wheel



It seems the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration isn’t sure if Tesla’s new steering wheel design is legal.

The regulator told Road & Track: “At this time, NHTSA cannot determine if the steering wheel meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards,” the agency told R&T. “We will be reaching out to the automaker for more information.”

Tesla released photos last week of a refreshed Model S, which features interior updates like a horizontal screen and a half-circle steering wheel. Tesla has teased the same half-circle design for the upcoming Roadster.

While it’s not clear how the U.S. government will sound off on the steering wheel design, Road & Track said the design is “dumber than a box of rocks.”

“Every human with a driver’s license is used to having a complete loop for steering duties,” the report said. “Re-training our brains to compensate for a 50-percent-off steering yoke shouldn’t be necessary to safely operate a $70,000 luxury sedan.”

 
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David.85D

Active Member
Oct 29, 2016
1,662
1,433
USA
I don’t see what the problem is. Even the super-picky FAA lets aircraft manufacturers come up with their own “flight controls.” Be it a standard U shaped yoke, a Ram’s horn, or a side control joystick. Pilots just get used to whatever they fly.
But this is within a highly regulated environment where pilots have to practice and qualify in advance. And presumably, if they crash the simulator enough times, someone will notice…
 

David.85D

Active Member
Oct 29, 2016
1,662
1,433
USA
Either it's legal or it's not. How can they "not be sure". It's up to them to say it's illegal by pointing to specific laws.
Knowing Tesla, I’d guess they haven’t filed all the required documentation or it differs from what dear leader is tweeting about. The request for information is the process. Tesla can/should clarify whatever details they asked about…
 
But this is within a highly regulated environment where pilots have to practice and qualify in advance. And presumably, if they crash the simulator enough times, someone will notice…
Not necessarily. Training for larger, complex aircraft, sure. But the training is mostly for systems, instrument layouts and flight characteristics. For light aircraft, you can hop in any aircraft category with a standard yoke, ramhorn, center stick, sidestick. No additional training required. Its not a big deal, they are all intuitive. Push to go down, pull to go up.
 

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