Californian carmaker has some interesting "innovations" in the works.
Tesla is not the kind of company that adheres closely to convention. Its cars are updated at irregular intervals, the interiors are unlike any others, and its CEO is quite the eclectic figure. But underneath all the tabloid-friendly news that sometimes clouds its achievements, Tesla remains a temple of innovation and isn't afraid to release controversial tech. In the past, we've seen a patent filed for laser windshield wipers, while more recently, the company revealed a yoke steering wheel on the Model S. But Tesla isn't done, and a pair of posts from Taylor Ogan on Twitter has revealed patent filings for swiveling front seats and possibly even a moveable steering wheel.
In the diagram posted, we see the depiction of a cabin where both the driver and the passenger sitting shotgun can swivel their seats 180 degrees, creating a lounge-like vibe for the interior. To allow the driver's seat to move freely without taking up too much space, the diagram also depicts a central steering wheel position with no seat behind it.
This indicates that if the seats in a future production Tesla will swivel, then the steering wheel will be moveable too. This idea isn't especially new, but the cost-saving in producing a single layout of cars for both the LHD and RHD markets must be significant.
The tweets make no mention of where these patents were filed, or when, but the wording of the text says that the vehicle shown in the diagram "may be a passenger car, truck, sport utility vehicle, or van." It may also be semi-autonomous or fully-autonomous vehicle, but it seems that Tesla doesn't want these potential features to be made use of while driving, as the key goes on to say that "in embodiments, vehicle 100 is not autonomously driven."
Obviously, the goal is to one day have autonomous systems that are so safe that one could face the rear of the car while in the driver's seat, but while that goal is a long way away, this is a great start.