Tesla is turning around with its autopilot driver assistance system: As an additional safety function, an interior camera is to monitor the driver when the autopilot is activated. The feature is already included in some current models.
The interior camera monitors Tesla drivers: Autopilot upgrade for Model 3 and Model Y
Tesla has long been relying on autonomous driving systems for its e-cars and their marketing – at least the American electric car manufacturer is using them to advertise itself. The assistance systems from Teslas are continuously criticized because they do not keep what is promised. An additional feature to monitor drivers should improve the situation.
Model 3 and Model Y are the first. They have had an integrated interior camera above the rearview mirror for a long time, which is now also to be used: When the autopilot is active, it checks whether the driver is still fulfilling their duty of care. The camera thus supports the previous safety protocols of the autopilot, which is supposed to use weight and contact sensors on the driver’s seat and steering wheel to ensure that the driver can intervene even when the assistance systems are activated.
In order to ensure the driver’s attention, the viewing direction could be checked, for example. Precise information is still missing, both on the type of examination of possible inattentiveness and on how the vehicles then react. The data that Tesla collects should not leave the car, according to The Verge in the software information of current Tesla models.
Improvements Will Follow Reports On The Limits Of The Autopilot
On the other hand, the Model S and Model X have no interior cameras installed, so the feature cannot be activated there either. The current model updates from 2021 will receive the camera but have not yet been delivered to customers, according to The Verge.
The improvements to the autopilot are against the background of harsh criticism of Tesla’s driver assistant: Several accidents have recently drawn attention to the function, and studies have shown that previous precautions against misuse of the autopilot can easily be tricked.
However, it has not yet been said that the problems with the autopilot will be eliminated. Until autonomous driving actually becomes possible, the camera could help, other manufacturers use similar systems to monitor eye movements. Dealing honestly with customers about the capabilities of Tesla’s autopilot would also be desirable.