A new video shows Tesla’s AI-based driver monitoring system can detect driver attention in real time using the cabin-facing camera in its vehicles.
Tesla’s cabin-facing camera has been in the vehicles for years now, but it has been barely used by the automaker.
Automakers generally implement cabin-facing cameras for driver monitoring while using driver-assist features, like GM with Supercruise.
However, CEO Elon Musk has previously dismissed the use of a camera-based driver monitoring system and said that Tesla would use its cabin-facing camera to prevent people from vandalizing cars when they are being driven automatically on Tesla’s upcoming self-driving robotaxi network.
Last year, Tesla activated the camera for the first time in a software update asking people to allow the automaker to take videos and pictures to “develop safety features and enhancements in the future” on a voluntary basis.
Lately, the camera is being discussed more often after it was revealed that Tesla removed some owners from its FSD beta program after determining that they weren’t paying enough attention when using the system.
It pushed some to asked the question: If Tesla can determine that drivers aren’t paying attention, shouldn’t it warn drivers in the moment?
But some doubted Tesla was using an active AI-based driver monitoring system based on the cabin camera due to Musk’s previous comments and instead thought Tesla might have been manually reviewing footage from the FSD Beta program.
Now Tesla hacker “green” released a video showing Tesla’s driver monitoring system in real-time with an overlay of the cabin camera:
Interesting that “phone use” for Tesla means “driver is holding a phone in front of them” not “driver is talking on a phone that’s pressed to their ear”. pic.twitter.com/7Dumsx3Kmq
— green (@greentheonly) April 7, 2021
It actively monitors where the eyes of the driver are looking and if there are any distractions, like phone use.
A video of a hacker trying to trick the system with pictures has also been released:
Tesla’s driver-facing camera has also been in the news lately because of the Chinese military being worried about Tesla vehicles on its bases due to the use of the camera.
This week, Tesla China issued a statement on the subject – stating that the camera hasn’t been activated in China and links the use to the FSD Beta, which also hasn’t made it to China (translated from Chinese):
Recently, there has been a discussion on the Internet about “Tesla monitors the owner through the camera in the car”. In order to eliminate unnecessary misunderstandings, the following is specifically stated:
The vehicles used by Tesla users do not infringe on the privacy of users through the in-vehicle camera.
All Tesla user vehicles on the Chinese market have not turned on their in-vehicle cameras, nor are they involved in FSD Beta testing.
Tesla’s privacy protection policy complies with national laws and regulations. Like you, Tesla attaches great importance to the protection of user privacy. We are equipped with a network security system with the world’s leading security level to ensure user privacy protection. Thank you again for your attention to Tesla.
Musk had previously responded that if Tesla were using its cameras to spy on countries, it would be “shut down.”
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.