Tesla is finally releasing a driver monitoring system using its cabin-facing camera to ensure drivers are paying attention when using its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving package features.
It’s a feature that the automaker inexplicably has taken its sweet time to release.
Tesla’s cabin-facing camera has been in the vehicles for years now, but the automaker has barely used it.
Automakers generally implement cabin-facing cameras for driver monitoring while using driver-assist features, like GM with Supercruise.
However, CEO Elon Musk has previously dismissed the use of a camera-based driver monitoring system and said that Tesla would use its cabin-facing camera to prevent people from vandalizing cars when they are being driven automatically on Tesla’s upcoming self-driving robotaxi network.
Last year, Tesla activated the camera for the first time in a software update asking people to allow the automaker to take videos and pictures to “develop safety features and enhancements in the future” on a voluntary basis.
Lately, the camera is being discussed more often after it was revealed that Tesla removed some owners from its FSD beta program after determining that they weren’t paying enough attention when using the system.
It pushed some to asked the question: If Tesla can determine that drivers aren’t paying attention, shouldn’t it warn drivers in the moment?
We knew that Tesla had the capacity since a hacker demonstrated exactly what the automaker’s cabin-facing is looking for — pictured above.
Now, Tesla is finally deploying its driver monitoring system in a new software update: 2021.4.15.11.
The automaker wrote in the new release notes:
“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.”
Tesla does note that owners can change the data sharing setting by going to “Controls > Safety and Security.”
The new update coincides with Tesla’s release of its new Tesla Vision system that solely relies on computer vision using cameras and no radar.
It is important to note that Tesla is not removing the need to keep your hands on the steering wheel and be ready to take control at all times.
Other automakers who implemented driver motoring systems have removed the requirement to keep your hands on the steering wheel as long as they can detect that you are paying attention to the road.
It looks like Tesla is not quite there yet, but it will be interesting to see where the company takes that features.
They could also use it to gradually reduce the Autopilot nag, but I doubt that they will remove the hands on steering wheel requirement as Tesla seems determined to jump from level 2 to level 5.
Let’s see how that plays out.
If you got the new update, please let us know how it behaves.
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