Tesla camera hack shows how your EV might monitor driving habits

It's not guaranteed to be used this way.

REUTERS/Mike Blake

Elon Musk said the driver-facing camera in Tesla cars was to monitor future robotaxi service, but a sleuth suggests the company might be open to checking human drivers as well. Code investigator Green says they’ve found (via Electrek) the in-cabin activities Tesla’s camera is looking for. They appear to revolve around signs of distracted driving, such as phone use or looking away from the road.

It also appears to have special checks for sunglasses (such as whether or not you’re looking down). It’s uncertain what “blinded” and “dark” mean, although this may refer to moments when lighting conditions prevent the camera from detecting anything.

There’s no certainty Tesla will use the camera this way. It only activated the camera in June, and then for a voluntary program that captures pre-collision photos and videos to help with safety features. The brand currently checks for attention during Autopilot through torque applied to the steering wheel.

It wouldn’t be unheard of for Tesla to monitor driver attention, though. GM’s Super Cruise already uses a camera system to ensure you’re focused without requiring hands on the wheel, and Ford’s Mustang Mach-E will do the same. If Tesla added the feature, it could match its rivals and offer truly hands-free driving — at least in those situations where it’s safe.