I wrote this morning about Tesla going all-in on vision and removing radar units from new Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, starting this month. Lo and behold, Tesla has also messaged Model 3 and Model Y owners that it is going to use their driver-facing internal cabin cameras for driver monitoring.
The in-car update, as posted on Twitter, states:
Cabin Camera Updates
The cabin camera above your rearview mirror can now detect and alert driver inattentiveness while Autopilot is engaged. Camera data does not leave the car itself, which means the system cannot save or transmit information unless data sharing is enabled. To change your data settings, tap Controls > Safety & Security > Data Sharing on your car’s touchscreen.
This is an important change for Autopilot. As Kirsten Korosec reports on TechCrunch:
“Until now, Tesla has not used the camera installed in its vehicles and instead relied on sensors in the steering wheel that measured torque — a method that is supposed to require the driver to keep their hands on the wheel. Drivers have documented and shared on social media how to trick the sensors into thinking a human is holding the wheel.”
This is a move in the right direction that will reduce the misuse of Autopilot and risk to other drivers on the road. Although I’d love to learn more detail about the functionality of the Tesla DMS.