Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the launch of the new Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne, California on March 14, 2019.
Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images
Tesla has started using cabin cameras on some Model 3 and Model Y to ensure drivers are careful of the road when using driver assistance features, according to release notes received from CNBC.
Their Model 3 and Model Y already had cab cameras, but the company’s manuals said they weren’t used for driver monitoring. Instead, Tesla’s systems required drivers to “check in” by touching the sensor-equipped steering wheel.
According to Kevin Smith, a second Tesla buyer in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Tesla is now informing drivers that their cab cameras have been turned on for driver monitoring in new vehicles without radar sensors. Smith says he received a Tesla Model Y Crossover 2021 on Thursday.
The technical changes are coming amid the regulatory review of Tesla vehicle safety in the US and abroad. The company is facing dozens of federal investigations into the underlying causes of Tesla-related crashes in the U.S., some of which may have involved autopilot.
Elon Musk’s auto business sells its driver assistance systems under the brand names Autopilot and Full-Self Driving, or FSD, an optional upgrade for $ 10,000. Tesla is also offering some drivers who have paid for FSD the opportunity to try unfinished driver assistance features in its FSD beta program, effectively becoming beta testers.
Tesla’s manuals warn drivers that using these systems requires “active monitoring”. However, owners have repeatedly shown over-reliance on the systems by sharing videos and reports of driving while you sleep behind the wheel, driving without their hands on the wheel, or even driving in the passenger or back seat of the car.
A federal vehicle safety watchdog, the National Transportation Safety Board, has urged Tesla to end beta testing on public roads with customers instead of professionals and to add robust driver monitoring to its vehicles.
It’s not clear if Tesla’s new camera-based driver monitoring system and radar-less cars meet the standards of the NTSB or other safety standards.
Experience of an owner
Kevin Smith ordered his 2021 Model Y in late March and was expecting a vehicle with Tesla’s previously marketed sensor suite, including radar.
But on Tuesday of this week, Tesla announced in a blog post that it would shut down radar and downgrade the functionality of the vehicles. The article also states that Tesla will restore the missing functions as soon as Tesla converts customers to a “pure vision” or camera-based version of its driver assistance and safety functions.
Before he could get his new Model Y delivered, Smith was asked in an “Order Update” on the Tesla website to confirm that he would accept the modified car at the same price as the one originally ordered.
The disclaimer indicated that the company is migrating to Tesla Vision, its camera-based autopilot system, and that some new cars that will be delivered from May 2021 will not have radar. It also warned that Vision could be shipped “temporarily restricted or inactive” with some features and said Tesla will restore those features in the “weeks ahead” with over-the-air software updates.
An order update for Tesla customers who will receive the Model 3 or Model Y in May 2021.
When he received his Model Y with all-wheel drive in 2021, Smith saw a “version note” on the vehicle’s touchscreen display informing him of a cabin camera update:
“The cabin camera above your rearview mirror can now detect and warn the driver of inattentiveness while the autopilot is activated. The camera data does not leave the vehicle itself, which means the system cannot store or transfer any information unless data sharing is enabled. To change your data settings, on your car’s touchscreen, tap Controls> Security> Data Sharing. “
Adding a camera-based driver monitoring system will not restore the driver assistance and safety features that Tesla said were initially disabled.
Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on Wednesday removed the highest level safety recommendations for the Model 3 in the US after the company announced it had banned radar from these vehicles. Consumer Reports stated, “The government’s leading vehicle safety rating agency says vehicles may be lacking some key advanced safety features, including Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB).”