Tesla decided to activate the in-car camera installed in some of its models to ensure, in the event of a serious accident, that the driver was properly seated and paying attention, even in Autopilot mode.
In its latest software update, Tesla is enabling activation of the camera placed in the interior of some of its cars, in order to detect the presence of the driver at the wheel when the vehicle is in Autopilot mode.
This camera is placed above the interior rearview mirror and is therefore intended to capture any moments of inattention from the driver. It complements the various sensors already installed, particularly on the steering wheel, but which are much less reliable. All of them are intended to ensure the presence and attentiveness of the driver, even when they are not exercising direct control over the automatic steering of their car. They must be capable of reacting and taking action at any time, in case of danger.
For the moment, this concerns Model 3 and Model Y owners. Tesla has also ensured the confidentiality of data. According to this new update, "Camera data does not leave the car itself, which means the system cannot save or transmit information unless data sharing is enabled."
This decision to activate the interior camera comes in the aftermath of numerous accidents that involved a Tesla with Autopilot mode activated and drivers who were not sufficiently vigilant. Tesla's Autopilot is a driving mode that allows the vehicle to maintain a trajectory, accelerate and brake automatically in its lane, without the intervention of the driver. However, the driver has to keep an eye on what's going on so that they can take control at any time if something goes wrong.