Tesla’s Autopilot system has been heavily criticized this year, and you’ve probably seen the YouTube and TikTok videos of people taking advantage of it. However, it seems that the latest autopilot update is finally using the in-car camera for driver monitoring.
According to an update changelog found on Twitter, the in-car camera mounted above the rear-view mirror will “detect and alert driver inattention while Autopilot is engaged.”
Until now, Tesla cabin cameras were mainly used for recording emergency braking events, and the “autopilot” detected the driver’s attention by measuring whether the steering wheel is pinching at fixed time intervals.
This update aligns Tesla with other manufacturers that use in-cab cameras to monitor drivers while hands-free driving or other assisted modes are in use. We don’t know if Tesla plans to use this above steering wheel torque or combine the two for safer driving.
Note that vehicles such as the Model S and Model X built before 2021 do not have these cameras, so obviously driver monitoring is not possible.