The tiny interior camera of the Tesla Model 3 is capable of much more than most owners probably realize.
Attention was first drawn to the camera mounted within the rearview mirror last year. At the time, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said it wasn’t currently operational and would only be enabled when Tesla owners can start using their Model 3s for autonomous Uber and Lyft services. Musk added it would act as a security camera in the event “someone messes up your car.”
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However, while recently looking into the details of this camera, Twitter user greentheonly posted that he had discovered the camera has the ability to detect what the driver is doing at any given time.
In case you were wondering what does the selfie camera in model 3 currently try to detect:
— green (@greentheonly) October 4, 2020
Apparently, the camera can track the eye movements of the driver, including whether their eyes are looking down, to the side, or up. Additionally, the camera tracks head movement and whether or not the driver is looking to the left or to the right. It also has the ability to detect if someone is using a phone while behind the wheel and can even recognize if a driver is likely looking down while wearing sunglasses.
The most obvious reason for Tesla detecting these types of behaviors from drivers would be for it to develop some time of driver monitoring system. The automaker has been criticized in the past for offering semi-autonomous driving features without any kind of system that monitors the driver, like Cadillac’s Super Cruise system does.
However, there does appear to be concern among some pundits about the ways the footage captured by the Model 3’s interior camera can be used like, for example, determining if someone wasn’t concentrating during a crash and potentially denying insurance claims.
It’s there for when we start competing with Uber/Lyft & people allow their car to earn money for them as part of the Tesla shared autonomy fleet. In case someone messes up your car, you can check the video.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 5, 2019