If, for instance, VW’s autonomous vehicle were to approach a slow-moving car ahead, the system would ask the driver if he or she would like to pass the vehicle or remain in the same lane. The small touchscreen on the gearshift knob would then display an option for the driver to push if he or she would like to pass the vehicle.
VW’s patent also indicates that the system will respond to various input commands from the driver. Putting a palm over the gearshift knob, for example, will turn the self-driving technology off and put the driver in complete control of the vehicle. While the patent shows the touch-sensitive surface on the top of the gearshift knob, the tech could go anywhere in the vehicle, as long as it’s in an easy-to-reach place for the driver. VW’s approach to give drivers some control over self-driving tech is a nice deviation from the norm.