According to a release note obtained by CNBC, Testla has started using cockpit cameras in some Driver 3 and Model Y cars so that drivers pay attention to the road while using the driver assistance features.
Its Model 3 and Model Y cars already had driver-facing cockpit cameras, but the company’s owner’s manuals said they weren’t used to monitoring drivers. Instead, drivers need to be registered by touching the steering wheel on the Tesla system, which is equipped with sensors.
According to Kevin Smith, a second-time Tesla buyer in Muffresboro, Tennessee, Tesla is telling drivers that its cockpit camera has been introduced to monitor drivers on new vehicles lacking radar sensors. Smith said he received the 2021 Tesla Model Y crossover on Thursday.
Technological changes come into the regular investigation of Tesla vehicle safety in the United States and abroad. The agency has faced dozens of federal investigations into the underlying causes of the Tesla-related crash in the United States, some of which may have involved autopilots.
Elon Musk’s auto business sells its driver assistance systems under the Autopilot and Full-Self Driving brand, or FSD, for a whopping 10,000 10,000. Tesla also offers some drivers who offer FSD the option to test unfinished driver support functions in its FSD beta program, effectively turning them into beta testers.
Tesla owner’s manuals advise drivers that active supervision is required for the use of these systems. However, the owners have repeatedly shown extra confidence in the system, sleeping on wheels, sharing stories in the video and driving without hands on the wheels, even driving while sitting in the passenger seat or back seat.
A federal vehicle safety surveillance agency, the National Transportation Safety Board, has asked Tesla to stop beta testing on public roads with customers rather than professionals and add strict driver surveillance to its vehicles.
It is not clear if Tesla’s new camera-based driver monitoring system and vehicles without radar meet the standards set by NTSB or other safety standards.
Kevin Smith ordered his 2021 Model Y in late March and had previously been expecting to get a car with a suite of sensors, including a radar with a testler.
But Tesla announced on Tuesday this week that it would remove the radar and reduce the effectiveness of the vehicle in a blog post. The post further states that Tesla will restore missing features if Tesla customers convert its security and driver assistance features to a camera-based or authentic vision version.
Before he received his new Model Y, Smith was asked in an order update on Tesla’s website to confirm that he would accept the modified car for the same price he originally ordered.
The release states that the company is converting to Tesla Vision, its camera-based autopilot system, and that some of the new vehicles delivered in May 2021 will not have radar. He also warned that Vision might temporarily restrict or disable some features, and said that Tesla would restore those features in the coming weeks with wireless software updates.
When he received the Model Y for his 2021 all-wheel drive, Smith informed him of a copyright camera update on the car’s touchscreen in a release note:
The cockpit camera above the rear view mirror can now inadvertently detect and warn the driver while the autopilot is busy. Data from the camera does not leave the car, which means the system cannot store or transmit data unless data sharing is enabled. To change your data settings, you can go to Control> Safety & Security> Sharing data on your car’s touch screen.
Adding a camera-based driver monitoring system does not restore driver support and security features. Tesla said it had been disabled for the time being.
The company announced that the radar had been removed from these vehicles after the Consumer Report and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the United States on Wednesday removed the Model 3’s high-level safety clearance. The Consumer Report noted: Vehicles may lack some key advanced safety features, including Forward Collision Alert (FCW) and automatic emergency braking, according to the government’s leading vehicle safety rating agency.