Extensions to the current non-touchscreen control mechanisms

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KarenRei

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#1
I've done a *lot* of replying to comments on other sites from the "general public" about the Model 3. And I have to say, one thing keeps coming up at the top of the list of concerns: that screen. "What if it dies?" "Fiddling with it while driving is dangerous!" Etc. I have various responses, but the simple fact is: if Tesla could reassure that all basic functions could be done without the screen, it would translate to a lot more customer interest. Also, lots of people don't trust / like auto headlights and auto wipers (myself included in the latter). And auto wipers don't currently exist, which is something that they also rip Tesla for.

It seems like Tesla almost designed it to be usable without the screen. Almost. But not quite.

In this thread I'm curious as to people's thoughts on how the current controls could be extended - software only - to handle all basic functions without having to use the screen. I'll incorporate people's feedback into this post :) Corrections to my descriptions of current functionality welcome.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Headlights / Brights

Current: Push the left stick to turn on brights. Pull it back to cancel them. Pull it back again to blink them. Headlight control only from the screen, on the principle that it'll always bee on auto.

Suggested: If headlights are currently not oeprating, push the left stick once to turn them on. Push it again to turn on brights. Pull back to cancel brights. Short pull back to blink brights. Long pull back to shut off headlights. Any action that turns headlights on/off pops switches the interface to the "headlights" context for five seconds (unless the user changes any headlights settings on the screen, wherein it stays until cancelled). In the headlights context, left-wheel scroll up/down changes headlight settings (and renews the 5-second timer).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wipers / Rinsing

Current: Pushing the left stalk button does a three-stroke wipe. Holding it in also does a rinse. Any pushing of the left button brings up the wiper context on the screen until cancelled.

Suggested: Like before, but the wiper context only stays up for five seconds unless the user interacts with it on the screen. Left steering wheel scrolls through wiper speeds when in the wiper context (and renews the 5-second timer).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
General context selection

Suggested: Right steering wheel control: hold click + any of eight directions:
  • Up: Temperature / fan
  • Up-right: Vent direction
  • Right: Seat heaters and defrost
  • Down-right: Adjust steering wheel
  • Down: Adjust mirrors
  • ...more? Surely...
All contexts are cancelled automatically after 5 seconds if the user doesn't interact with them on the screen (using wheel controls renews the 5 second timer).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Done / Back / Close

Suggested: Clicking both steering wheel controls at once is interpreted as done / back / close. For example, in dual-control functions, such as mirror / steering wheel adjustment, it finishes the task. In submenus, it goes back to the parent. Etc.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cruise control speed / TTAC distance

Current: None. Only on the screen, with tiny icons (totally not acceptable).

Suggested: Excepting when the driver is in a context that captures right scroll wheel functionality, right wheel scroll up/down = speed/distance up/down.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Temperature / Fan

Current: Ed: Do the wheel settings do anything at all in the fan setting now?

Suggested: Each steering wheel control controls a side of the car. Scroll up/down = temperature up/down; left/right = fan up/down.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vent direction

Current: Nothing. Can't even select vent direction as its own context separate from temperature / fan.

Suggested: Each steering wheel control controls a side of the car. Scroll up/down = air up/down; left/right = air left/right. Click = toggle merged / separate airflows.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seat heaters

Current: Nothing. Doesn't even have a context, just bottom icons.

Suggested: Left wheel scroll up/down = left seat heat up/down. Right wheel scroll up/down = right seat heat up/down. Left click = front defroster. Right click = rear defroster
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Music

Current: Default context; active if nothing else is. Left wheel scroll up/down = volume up/down; left-right = change track/station.

Suggested: No change. Having no functionality in the right scroll leaves it free to adjust cruise control speed when in the music context.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adjust steering wheel

Current: Left steering wheel control adjusts position up/down/left/right. Right scroll up/down adjusts distance.

Suggested: No change, except for the universal done/back/cancel functionality from a dual-control click.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adjust mirrors

Current: Each wheel controls mirrors up/down/left/right.

Suggested: No change, except for the universal done/back/cancel functionality from a dual-control click.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thoughts?
 

SoFlaModel3

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#2
I’m fairly confident that the car is unusable without the screen and I’m ok with that unless it’s unstable and then I’d just go mad.

EDIT: of course you can safely put the car in Park and assess if something should go haywire while driving.

Also, to the replying to comments part. It’s a never ending battle because people will always be upset in both directions. Ultimately nothing is perfect and that includes Tesla. There are plenty of other cars on the road and in the price range in particular. The demand suggests this car is very well done. I certainly don’t have eyes for anything else :cool:
 
Last edited:

Watts4me

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#3
Most of the people who comment on tesla articles are really just there to talk negative about Tesla. You can explain it to them 10 times. But they really dont care. They are there to mislead other people who might be truely interested in the car
 

MichelT3

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#4
I think it was @TrevP who suggested that so many functions are controlled via the screen (and not via knobs or functions on the stalks/wheels) because the car is already prepared for autonomous rides with passengers.
Which argues for not adding / deleting all functions to the stalks/wheels when in autonomous drive.
 

Kizzy

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#5
I can see this being confusing for folks who accidentally do something. I fully support this being an option enabled in the menu system, however.

I'm wondering about the up/left type controls, though. Is that a diagonal gesture or a series of positions? That seems a bit difficult.
 

KarenRei

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#6
I can see this being confusing for folks who accidentally do something. I fully support this being an option enabled in the menu system, however.

I'm wondering about the up/left type controls, though. Is that a diagonal gesture or a series of positions? That seems a bit difficult.
You'd have to ask someone who has their vehicle how easy it is to do up-left and such. The controls support both up/down and left/right, but obviously if you can't do them both at once that would be a limitation.

Some things really just simply need to be done, however. For example, the cruise control adjustment mechanism at present is unacceptable.

Also, to the replying to comments part. It’s a never ending battle
There's a mix of people. There's people who are a lost cause; for me, a reply to them is only so that "other people" see it. There's people who are already sold; comments with them are little more than chat. There's people who are maybes but have concerns. Some of these concerns are based on misinformation / lack of knowledge and are readily addressed. Some however are based on things that are simply fact. And sometimes, those can be remedied completely with improved control software.

If I can say, "you can control all important features without using the screen", that will get a lot more people on-board with the vehicle. It's not a "maybe" - I can say that with a great deal of confidence.

I think it was [COLOR=rgb(39, 38, 36)]@TrevP[/COLOR] who suggested that so many functions are controlled via the screen (and not via knobs or functions on the stalks/wheels) because the car is already prepared for autonomous rides with passengers.
This argument falls *extremely* flat on the general public. As the car is not, as it stands, self-driving (and many people - myself included - have doubts that it ever will be). You don't cripple usability for a feature that doesn't exist. And even if it did, and you didn't want people controlling things with the levers and buttons, you'd have to disable all current functionality as well regardless.

The "the car will eventually be self driving so it won't matter" argument has precisely the opposite effect of what you may want. People hear that and think "so my fears about the car in its present state *are* confirmed; its functionality *is* as bad as I heard!" They want to know how it functions now, not at some unspecified time in the future which they may not believe in or even want.

I can assuage concerns in some regards - where the software stack has "some" of the features. For example, when people say "Oh my god, you control volume with a screen slider? That's HORRIBLE! Even iPhones have volume controls!", I can point to the steering wheel controls, and that often makes people feel better. When they're aghast that you have to go into submenus to turn on the dome lights? I point out that you can just push them. Etc. But when they point to, say adjusting cruise control? Umm... I got nothing. :Þ Seriously, the best I can say is "They'll surely fix that in an update". Which sounds just terrible.
 
Last edited:

3V Pilot

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#7
One thing I really like about the S/X UI is the ability to control almost any aspect of the car via the steering wheel. Of course they have the central display that shows what function you will be controlling but I'm hoping that the Model 3 will get more features added in time. For now the fist thing I would love to see is the Cruise Control on the right side like you mention above. I'd like to see up/down for speed, Left/Right for following distance, and push in to turn on/off.

As far as up and left at the same time that is really not going to work. You can scroll the wheel easy enough up and down, or you can "click" it left and right but doing both at the same time would not be easy or consistent with the current design.
 

KarenRei

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#8
As an example of the fact that there are many people who actually do care about correct info - I just went after posting this and checked my comment responses. Already had a new one - a trucker who wrote "It's a great car, honestly", but was worried about the screen being too bright at night, because he has a big GPS in his truck and it's blinding at night. I had replied about night mode and brightness adjustments. He just replied "Thank you for telling me"

This sort of communication with people matters.

And so does having a software stack I can actually defend.
 

KarenRei

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#9
As far as up and left at the same time that is really not going to work. You can scroll the wheel easy enough up and down, or you can "click" it left and right but doing both at the same time would not be easy or consistent with the current design.
Hi Mike - do you have Model 3 yet, or have you tried it? Because the reviews have described the wheel controls as joystick-like, and you can do that with a joystick. If not, one can just eliminate any one of the five contexts and have just four selectable contexts (click plus up, down, left or right)
 
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3V Pilot

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#10
Hi Mike - do you have Model 3 yet, or have you tried it? Because the reviews have described the wheel controls as joystick-like, and you can do that with a joystick. If not, one can just eliminate any one of the five contexts and have just four selectable contexts (click plus up, down, left or right)
I got a chance to drive one and play with the controls a bit. Not for a long time but enough exposure that I'm fairly confident you would not be happy attempting "joystick" type of movement. Maybe some of the other owners on here can comment if they think differently. I'd say they operate more like an independent scroll wheel and although you can click it left, right or push in it seemed like the left/right movement is best from the center as that is where the wheel sticks out the farthest. As the wheel gets closer to the top or bottom there is less leverage and therefore I don't think it's really designed to operate left/right from there. Again, YMMV and hopefully someone can give this a try in the car and see what they think.
 

MichelT3

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#12
The moment when Tesla needs to get the general public on board with the special features of this car is still at least 5 years away. The car sells itself as it is.
Current demand is such that they can’t build enough cars. This will even be more so for Model Y (and a pickup for the US).
It’s my strong belief that autonomous drive will be there sooner.
In my opinion all those people who are moaning about specific aspects (from volume control, to missing binnacle, to the ‘long tailpipe’) are not doing that out of lack of knowledge, but because they ‘just don’t believe in it’.
Arguing with them is a waste of time imho. They will get around someday when it’s inevitable or when mainstream or their neighbors convince them.

And for me personally goes that it’s much more trouble learning all different moves of those scroll wheels, then to reach over to the screen and do things there you only need to do ever so often (why bother with auto-lights at all, if you can already flash them?).
That said, a few (like adjusting CC speed and distance) will probably be transferred to the wheels. We’ll see.
We Europeans will have to wait another year anyway.
 

GregRF

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#13
I imagine some of this is coming since the right scroll wheel doesn't seem to do much yet. I'm guessing that the right scroll wheel will control whatever contextual menu comes up on the driver info screen (cc/autopilot speed, wiper speed) and when no menu is up it could scroll through options to select.
 

KarenRei

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#15
I imagine some of this is coming since the right scroll wheel doesn't seem to do much yet. I'm guessing that the right scroll wheel will control whatever contextual menu comes up on the driver info screen (cc/autopilot speed, wiper speed) and when no menu is up it could scroll through options to select.
"Scrolling through" contexts is subpar. I don't want to have to tell people "the way you do this simple task is you scroll up five times, making sure to stop at the right context, and then...." It's important to be able to go straight to a given context.
 

JWardell

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#16
If only the "general public" cares about the usability and convenience of key/basic features in a car, and being able to use those features safely while driving, well then count me as part of that "general public".
I haven't owned a single car that doesn't have at least some idiotic ergonomic and usability issues, especially in the entertainment and electronics. But unlike all of those where I was stuck with them forever, Tesla can change and improve many of these items over time through software updates.
Remember right now you are looking at a car that is just born. It will improve drastically over the next few years, even if you already own one.
 
4

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#17
Tesla strives to be Level 5 autonomous vehicles. Let's keep that in mind when discussing adjustability.

Tesla, and many other car manufacturers are also heading to "no fatalities on roads". This,
fortunately and unfortunately, requires human control to be more and more limited.

Lights, for example, will likely be (or almost are today) non user-adjustable.
First of all, if you drive, DRL's are on. If it is dark, front beams are on. If it foggy, rear fog light(s) is on.
If you don't drive (parked, stopped on the curb, at bus stop, whatever) front beams are OFF.
If you are stopped where you should not be, hazards are on.
All these things have only ONE "the most correct" state. And skip regulations because they are useless.
"AI can see vehicle with DRL's on 0,0014% faster/more reliably, therefore DRL's are on, end of discussion."
I would expect Tesla will one day be ready to remove some selections from touchscreen. Fog lights might
take the longest, as this requires narrow AI to understand visibility.

Wipers/rinsing - another thing that must work flawlessly for Level 5 autonomy. Priority NR1 for Model 3 is
to teach it to understand rain on the windscreen with front cameras (as M3 does NOT have stand-alone rain sensor).
When it finally works, there is pretty much nothing user has to do often. Washing the screen - yes, until AI learns that.

I bring an example. BMW, since 1997, does exterior rearview mirror defrosting automatically. It's not something
user ever thinks and ever needs to think about. Mirrors are clean, always. Another example, since 2004,
windscreen has (as an option) a mist sensor. If front windscreen is not transparent, vehicle will do everything it can
to defrost. Therefore, one more button that can be deleted forever from user interface. It should be possible to do the
same with rear window defrost if it would matter.

I'm actually disappointed that Tesla has dumb seat heating "levels". Even though BMW also has 3 levels,
it actually has a temperature sensor and compensation according to interior temperature. What I would expect from
Tesla is that it remembers seat "adjusted temperature setting" (same thing as adjusted air temperature setting" and
keep seat heating of FOREVER, winter and summer. Plus it remembers compensation preference according to
occupants profile. Some prefer seat to be 39C when it's freezing outside, some prefer 37C. Then call all that
smart seat heating. It will, one day, learn so much that it knows exactly what John and Mary like the best.

Cruise control and adaptive cruise control - ideally, vehicle should be able calculate the best following distance.
And actually, there is only one distance that is safe. I believe that is another thing people will not be able to adjust
in near future. Maximum speed selection - well, that might stay for longer. Though I see no reason to allow autonomous
speeding 20+km/h. I agree, and likely outcome in near future is that max speed selection will be assigned to right wheel.

Rare operations like: steering wheel adjustment, mirror adjustment, air direction adjustment, air temperature adjustment,
seat temperature adjustment - could all be done with steering wheel wheels. Submenus like on Model S/X.
Ergonomically, longclick to open menu, scroll up-down to select options, click right to open tree, scroll to select subselection,
click to enter, up-down-left-right to adjust, click to confirm. longclick to exit menu. In case of emergency (broken screen)
why not allow all these operations to be done with voice recognition (or smartphone app), like
"open mirror adjustment " and use wheels.
"open vent adjustment" and use wheels to adjust
"open temperature adjustment" or "set driver side to ..."
"raise wiper sensitivity"
"set cruise 10 above limit" (haha, wonder how long will it take until Mr Law will say something).

One day we will not be able to turn the steering wheel when changing lanes if there is a vehicle nearby.
We must accept that "crashless future" requires us, stupid irresponsible drivers, to lose control over lots of things.
And the only way to disable some safety systems (like maximum allowed speed) is to activate hazards for the whole time
will be the only way (for at least some time).
 

John

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#18
You could also make the right steering wheel control "quickly configurable" with just software. Double-click it, and a list of in-context choices comes up on screen, like "TACC" and "Wipers" and "A/C". Use the scroll to pick one, press to select, and now the right button controls that function.

For instance:
1. Double-tap right steering button and scroll to A/C and click. Now up/down is fan speed, right/left is set temp, click to turn fan on/off.
2. Double-tap right steering button and scroll to TACC and click. Now up/down is set speed, right/left is follow distance, click to turn on/off.
3. Double-tap right steering button and scroll to Wipers and click. Now up/down is speed (fast, slow, intermittent), right/left is interval, click to turn on/off.
4. Double-tap right steering button and scroll to Vents and click. Now up/down is up/down, right/left is right/left on driver vent. Click to select passenger vent control. Repeat.
 

3V Pilot

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#19
Tesla strives to be Level 5 autonomous vehicles. Let's keep that in mind when discussing adjustability.

Tesla, and many other car manufacturers are also heading to "no fatalities on roads". This,
fortunately and unfortunately, requires human control to be more and more limited.

Lights, for example, will likely be (or almost are today) non user-adjustable.
First of all, if you drive, DRL's are on. If it is dark, front beams are on. If it foggy, rear fog light(s) is on.
If you don't drive (parked, stopped on the curb, at bus stop, whatever) front beams are OFF.
If you are stopped where you should not be, hazards are on.
All these things have only ONE "the most correct" state. And skip regulations because they are useless.
"AI can see vehicle with DRL's on 0,0014% faster/more reliably, therefore DRL's are on, end of discussion."
I would expect Tesla will one day be ready to remove some selections from touchscreen. Fog lights might
take the longest, as this requires narrow AI to understand visibility.

Wipers/rinsing - another thing that must work flawlessly for Level 5 autonomy. Priority NR1 for Model 3 is
to teach it to understand rain on the windscreen with front cameras (as M3 does NOT have stand-alone rain sensor).
When it finally works, there is pretty much nothing user has to do often. Washing the screen - yes, until AI learns that.

I bring an example. BMW, since 1997, does exterior rearview mirror defrosting automatically. It's not something
user ever thinks and ever needs to think about. Mirrors are clean, always. Another example, since 2004,
windscreen has (as an option) a mist sensor. If front windscreen is not transparent, vehicle will do everything it can
to defrost. Therefore, one more button that can be deleted forever from user interface. It should be possible to do the
same with rear window defrost if it would matter.

I'm actually disappointed that Tesla has dumb seat heating "levels". Even though BMW also has 3 levels,
it actually has a temperature sensor and compensation according to interior temperature. What I would expect from
Tesla is that it remembers seat "adjusted temperature setting" (same thing as adjusted air temperature setting" and
keep seat heating of FOREVER, winter and summer. Plus it remembers compensation preference according to
occupants profile. Some prefer seat to be 39C when it's freezing outside, some prefer 37C. Then call all that
smart seat heating. It will, one day, learn so much that it knows exactly what John and Mary like the best.

Cruise control and adaptive cruise control - ideally, vehicle should be able calculate the best following distance.
And actually, there is only one distance that is safe. I believe that is another thing people will not be able to adjust
in near future. Maximum speed selection - well, that might stay for longer. Though I see no reason to allow autonomous
speeding 20+km/h. I agree, and likely outcome in near future is that max speed selection will be assigned to right wheel.

Rare operations like: steering wheel adjustment, mirror adjustment, air direction adjustment, air temperature adjustment,
seat temperature adjustment - could all be done with steering wheel wheels. Submenus like on Model S/X.
Ergonomically, longclick to open menu, scroll up-down to select options, click right to open tree, scroll to select subselection,
click to enter, up-down-left-right to adjust, click to confirm. longclick to exit menu. In case of emergency (broken screen)
why not allow all these operations to be done with voice recognition (or smartphone app), like
"open mirror adjustment " and use wheels.
"open vent adjustment" and use wheels to adjust
"open temperature adjustment" or "set driver side to ..."
"raise wiper sensitivity"
"set cruise 10 above limit" (haha, wonder how long will it take until Mr Law will say something).

One day we will not be able to turn the steering wheel when changing lanes if there is a vehicle nearby.
We must accept that "crashless future" requires us, stupid irresponsible drivers, to lose control over lots of things.
And the only way to disable some safety systems (like maximum allowed speed) is to activate hazards for the whole time
will be the only way (for at least some time).
Uh, seat heater on "FOREVER"......No Thanks!. Maybe in the north pole where you live but in AZ I'd prefer to have the seat Air Conditioner on forever if anything! Please don't assume that one setting is good for everyone. I agree with much of what you say regarding AI and what will come. Eventually cars will no longer need steering wheels and that will be a sad day for people like me who love to drive. However when that day comes and nobody is ever hurt in an accident that will be great. Plus when there is no need for stop lights or any other traffic control devices and speed limits are a thing of the past then traffic will also no longer be a problem. Besides, we will all be traveling in Elon's underground Hyperloop by then anyway!
 

KarenRei

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#20
Tesla strives to be Level 5 autonomous vehicles. Let's keep that in mind when discussing adjustability.

Tesla, and many other car manufacturers are also heading to "no fatalities on roads". This,
fortunately and unfortunately, requires human control to be more and more limited.

Lights, for example, will likely be (or almost are today) non user-adjustable.
First of all, if you drive, DRL's are on. If it is dark, front beams are on. If it foggy, rear fog light(s) is on.
If you don't drive (parked, stopped on the curb, at bus stop, whatever) front beams are OFF.
If you are stopped where you should not be, hazards are on.
All these things have only ONE "the most correct" state. And skip regulations because they are useless.
"AI can see vehicle with DRL's on 0,0014% faster/more reliably, therefore DRL's are on, end of discussion."
I would expect Tesla will one day be ready to remove some selections from touchscreen. Fog lights might
take the longest, as this requires narrow AI to understand visibility.

Wipers/rinsing - another thing that must work flawlessly for Level 5 autonomy. Priority NR1 for Model 3 is
to teach it to understand rain on the windscreen with front cameras (as M3 does NOT have stand-alone rain sensor).
When it finally works, there is pretty much nothing user has to do often. Washing the screen - yes, until AI learns that.

I bring an example. BMW, since 1997, does exterior rearview mirror defrosting automatically. It's not something
user ever thinks and ever needs to think about. Mirrors are clean, always. Another example, since 2004,
windscreen has (as an option) a mist sensor. If front windscreen is not transparent, vehicle will do everything it can
to defrost. Therefore, one more button that can be deleted forever from user interface. It should be possible to do the
same with rear window defrost if it would matter.

I'm actually disappointed that Tesla has dumb seat heating "levels". Even though BMW also has 3 levels,
it actually has a temperature sensor and compensation according to interior temperature. What I would expect from
Tesla is that it remembers seat "adjusted temperature setting" (same thing as adjusted air temperature setting" and
keep seat heating of FOREVER, winter and summer. Plus it remembers compensation preference according to
occupants profile. Some prefer seat to be 39C when it's freezing outside, some prefer 37C. Then call all that
smart seat heating. It will, one day, learn so much that it knows exactly what John and Mary like the best.

Cruise control and adaptive cruise control - ideally, vehicle should be able calculate the best following distance.
And actually, there is only one distance that is safe. I believe that is another thing people will not be able to adjust
in near future. Maximum speed selection - well, that might stay for longer. Though I see no reason to allow autonomous
speeding 20+km/h. I agree, and likely outcome in near future is that max speed selection will be assigned to right wheel.

Rare operations like: steering wheel adjustment, mirror adjustment, air direction adjustment, air temperature adjustment,
seat temperature adjustment - could all be done with steering wheel wheels. Submenus like on Model S/X.
Ergonomically, longclick to open menu, scroll up-down to select options, click right to open tree, scroll to select subselection,
click to enter, up-down-left-right to adjust, click to confirm. longclick to exit menu. In case of emergency (broken screen)
why not allow all these operations to be done with voice recognition (or smartphone app), like
"open mirror adjustment " and use wheels.
"open vent adjustment" and use wheels to adjust
"open temperature adjustment" or "set driver side to ..."
"raise wiper sensitivity"
"set cruise 10 above limit" (haha, wonder how long will it take until Mr Law will say something).

One day we will not be able to turn the steering wheel when changing lanes if there is a vehicle nearby.
We must accept that "crashless future" requires us, stupid irresponsible drivers, to lose control over lots of things.
And the only way to disable some safety systems (like maximum allowed speed) is to activate hazards for the whole time
will be the only way (for at least some time).
I'll reiterate what I wrote previously:

This argument falls *extremely* flat on the general public. As the car is not, as it stands, self-driving (and many people - myself included - have doubts that it ever will be). You don't cripple usability for a feature that doesn't exist. And even if it did, and you didn't want people controlling things with the levers and buttons, you'd have to disable all current functionality as well regardless.

The "the car will eventually be self driving so it won't matter" argument has precisely the opposite effect of what you may want. People hear that and think "so my fears about the car in its present state *are* confirmed; its functionality *is* as bad as I heard!" They want to know how it functions now, not at some unspecified time in the future which they may not believe in or even want.