Twitter user @GreenTheOnly is famous for providing insights into Tesla hardware and software outside of what is officially released to the public.
In a recent Tweet, Green says he was able to enable something called ‘Elon mode’.
So what is Elon Mode exactly? This relates to a setting in the vehicle that changes how the vehicle monitors for driver attentiveness. Typically Tesla owners experience something known as ‘the nag’ a visual alter that reminds the driver to pay attention where the driver needs to provide torque to the wheel to communicate to the system that they are indeed paying attention.
A better technique to ensure drivers are paying attention is to use the internal camera to monitor the driver and ensure they aren’t looking at their phone or are distracted for long periods of time and are safely monitoring the vehicle. This driver monitoring is the future and is key to delivering hands-off driving.
Other brands like Ford offer this hands-off, eyes-on driving (in limited locations) with their BlueCruise system. The big opportunity here is that Tesla ships their vehicle and ultimately their software to millions of cars across the world, so if Tesla can progress to this, it will have far-reaching benefits to Tesla drivers.
‘Elon Mode’ is effectively a change to the car’s driver monitoring system, switching from the steering wheel nag to driver monitoring via computer vision using the internal camera.
We’ve known this was being worked on for some time, but clearly, Tesla is not yet comfortable with the driver monitoring ability to release it to the public.
It is not clear how Green managed to enable ‘Elon Mode’, however, this statement suggests he was in a Tesla-owned vehicle, strange that he would be provided access to one, as these are typically only available for employees. Green is famous in the Tesla community so it’s likely he has some friends or contacts that work at the company.
Green says he was able to test ‘Elon mode’ over nearly 600 miles or almost 1,000km of driving.
Green’s experience was done using FSD version 11.4.3 of the software.
After reflecting on his experience, Green shared his thoughts after driving (or riding) in the Tesla that used Computer Vision to monitor the driver.
Every driving experience is going to be different, with dramatic variances in environmental factors like weather, routes, other traffic etc. I think it’s promising that Green is talking about reading books or browsing the week, suggesting that if he was allowed to do that, the mild non-human choices made during the drive virtually go unnoticed, meaning the ride was effectively done by the car, without issue and the monitoring was just that, monitoring, but sounds like its getting really good.
Green goes on to say:
Perhaps the biggest compliment to the current FSD progress is this:
Green followed up by saying that the majority of problems were mostly due to the short-sightedness of the stack resulting in unnecessary lane changes. If you let the car do it freely, road rage from others would be a real concern.
Green shared some video from the drive.