Tesla cars come with cams fitted on top of the rear-view mirror. The stated idea for these in the past was to ensure Tesla robotaxis aren't vandalized by passengers.
Now, Tesla cars can have these cams monitor drivers when AutoPilot is engaged, issuing alerts in case of inattentiveness.
Tesla has been facing the heat over a number of issues but perhaps the biggest of them all are recently accidents that reportedly involved its AutoPilot drive system. Autonomous driving has had its share of critics and while Tesla urges drivers to only use the feature where it is legal to do so and pay attention to the road and surroundings at all times, the advise hasn't always been heeded. As such, the in-car cameras inside Tesla cars have now been updated with a driver monitoring system.
Several Tesla models come with in-car cabin cams but CEO Elon Musk had previously highlighted that the main function of these are to ensure that passengers don't vandalize the vehicle once these cars are put to work on a planned robotaxi network. Why these on-board cams could not be used to also monitor driving habits in private vehicles - apart from possible privacy concerns - had not been revealed or established.
Many now welcome the Tesla decision to allow for a driver monitoring system through the cabin cam, something the likes of GM has already pushed ahead with. The California-based company has reportedly confirmed the cabin cameras - located above the rear-view mirror - can monitor a driver, detect inattentiveness when AutoPilot mode is on and consequently issue alerts. It also - and significantly - adds that the data remains in the car and won't be transmitted unless data sharing is enabled.
Tesla has previously urged customers to always keep hands on the wheels when engaging their EVs' AutoPilot mode. And yet, there have bee accidents, some tragic, where it is alleged that either the driver became careless, reckless or just too excitable to bother. Musk maintains that self-drive technology is the future and that such vehicles minimize the risk emerging from human errors.