When Tesla activated the cabin-facing camera inside the Model 3 and Model Y in June with the 2020.24.5 software update, the company admitted that it would help engineers develop safety features and improvements for the future. However, new developments were revealed by a notorious Tesla hacker, who showed the coding for the cabin’s camera and what facial features the feature will look for to boost security.
Tesla hacker @greentheonly revealed the specific things the cabin camera is looking for after finding the software for the feature. A number of facial features and head positions are described within the software and appear to be looking for ways to make drivers more aware and increase vehicle safety.
Facial expressions detected include BLINDED, DARK, EYES_CLOSED, EYES_DOWN, EYES_NOMINAL, EYES_UP, HEAD_DOWN, HEAD_TRUNC, LOOKING_LEFT, LOOKING_RIGHT, PHONE_USE, SUNGLASSES_EYES_LIKELY_NOMINAL, and SUNGLASSES_EYES_LIKELY_NOMINAL and SUNGLASSES_EYES_GLKELY_NOMINLI_SUNGLASSES.
Interesting developments in the newly revealed coding show that the cockpit camera will now be used by Tesla to increase driver safety and awareness. One of the most obvious indications of this is the PHONE_USE code, which will likely recognize and indicate when the driver’s eyes have left the road and are focused on a smartphone instead.
Interestingly, just a few days ago, Tesla received a sixth place in the Assisted Driving Grading survey from the Euro NCAP tests. The lower ratings were due to low scores on the ‘Driver Engagement’ metric, where the Model 3 only scored 35 out of 100.
The lack of a driver monitoring system in the Euro NCAP tests significantly affected the Model 3’s score in the test. It appears Tesla is already preparing for the cabin camera to acquire this data to increase vehicle safety.
Tesla Model 3 is penalized in Europe despite the best scores in terms of vehicle assistance and safety
However, recognition of any facial movements or features that could be a distraction to driving could be used with Tesla’s internal insurance suite to determine a driver’s rates. For example, if the cockpit camera detects PHONE_USE more often than the average driver, the rates may be increased because the driver is not paying their full attention to the road.
The likely scenario is to augment the driver monitoring system, which Tesla lacked according to NCAP tests – expanding the driver’s awareness of what is happening while driving is key, especially with autonomous and semi-autonomous driving capabilities. by Tesla. There is much evidence that many people using the FSD or Autopilot functions are not using them properly because they require the owner to keep their hands on the wheel and remain aware of the driving conditions.
However, some owners have seen Tesla’s capabilities as an opportunity to be less responsible on the road. The company has repeatedly stated that the cars are not yet fully autonomous. Drivers are required to continue to monitor their vehicle’s performance. The cabin camera monitoring system could be a key way to eliminate the possibility of less-than-ideal awareness while driving a Tesla.