Tesla are activating the Cabin Camera for the first time in a Model 3. Included in the release notes for a new software version for China, is a new feature – Cabin Camera.
The full release notes for Cabin Camera are:
Help Tesla continue to develop safer vehicles by sharing camera data from your vehicle. This update will allow you to enable the built-in cabin camera above the rearview mirror. If enabled, Tesla will automatically capture images and a short video clip just prior to a collision or safety event to help engineers develop safety features and enhancements in the future. As usual, you can adjust your data sharing preferences by tapping Controls > Safety & Security > DATA SHARING > Allow Cabin Camera Analytics.
Note: Cabin camera images and video clips will not be associated with your VIN to protect your privacy.
This is the first time we’ve seen Tesla enable the internal camera in the Model 3 (and presumably in the Model Y as well). The Cabin Camera was specifically disabled at launch, with the understanding that it would be enabled when full self-driving arrived. Tesla vehicles will eventually be able to enrol in the Robotaxi fleet and like Taxi’s, this would monitor passengers to ensure they don’t damage the vehicle.
Using the camera as an additional data point during an accident is smart and potentially could lead to safety improvements over time. There has also been community requests for other uses of the camera, mainly for driver monitoring which could remove the need for Autopilot users to put force into the wheel.
GeoHotz has raised the lack of night vision as an issue for driver monitoring. He suggests the cameras won’t be any good at night and therefore driver monitoring may not be possible with the current camera.
As we know, most home security cameras require a ring of IR lights to illuminate a scene at night, something the Cabin Camera doesn’t have. Despite that, it may be possible for Tesla to work their computer vision magic to make the camera footage to be usable, anytime of the day.
Until now, all (active) cameras on a Tesla have faced externally, capturing the world around the vehicle. It’ll be really interesting to see how successful Tesla is at getting people to enable the Cabin Camera. Even though it’s use is fairly clear and fairly limited (based on the release note description), it’s a new concept for people in non-commercial vehicles.
This comes from a post that reports to be software version 2020.16, which is now older than what we have in the Australia, US, Canada and many other countries, yet we don’t have this feature.
Some responses to the post, point out that the line drawing used in the release notes for Cabin Camera, doesn’t resemble any current vehicle made by Tesla. These digital representations usually come from the 3D models of actual Tesla vehicles, so it’s interesting the company would depart from that.