Consumer Reports is out with a new report about concerns regarding Tesla’s use of its driver-facing camera, and they raised an interesting question: If Tesla can determine that drivers aren’t paying attention, shouldn’t it warn drivers in that moment, like most driver monitoring systems?

Tesla has had a driver-facing camera in most of its vehicles for years now, but the company wasn’t using it. Instead, the automaker’s only driver monitoring system for Autopilot is a torque sensor on the steering wheel.

Tesla has often been criticized for not using more advanced ways to monitor driver attention and control. Consumer Reports has been one of those critics, and now they are at it again following new information.

Last week, we reported on Tesla confirming that it is now using the driver-facing camera in the Full Self-Driving Beta program in order to monitor attention.

CEO Elon Musk even said that the automaker removed some Tesla owners from the program after determining that they weren’t paying enough attention when using the system.

Now Jake Fisher, senior director of Consumer Reports’ auto test center, argues that if Tesla has now the capacity to monitor attention, they should implement a system to warn drivers every time they are not paying attention:

If Tesla has the ability to determine if the driver isn’t paying attention, it needs to warn the driver in the moment, like other automakers already do.

In the report, they reference other automakers who do just that, like GM with the Supercruise.

However, the publication also argues that there are some privacy concerns since Tesla collects the videos from the cabin camera.

Electrek’s Take

Normally, I don’t agree with most of CR‘s complaints about Autopilot, like when they complain about the name, but I’ll give credit where credit is due and it’s a good question they’re raising.

Literally anything is better than Tesla’s current driver monitoring system with a torque sensor on the steering wheel.

I do believe that Tesla’s Autopilot makes driving safer, but only if the driver always pay attention. The system alleviates some of the driving duties, enabling you to use more brain power to pay attention to the road.

If people misuse the system, Tesla should be able to warn them right away. Now that we know they are able to detect that, why shouldn’t they do it?

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.

You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.

About the Author