Tesla may activate the Model 3 and Model Y’s in-cabin camera in the next over-the-air software update. In April, Elon Musk had confirmed there was a camera in the panel that holds the rearview mirror in place. He had explained that the camera was not turned on and would be used for Tesla’s Robotaxi fleet in the future. Whether or not the in-cabin camera’s activation related to the Robotaxi program’s imminent launch is unclear. There may be other reasons Tesla believes the in-cabin camera should be activated now.
Tesla enthusiast @SavedTesla shared a screenshot of what appeared to be the Release Notes for the Cabin Camera feature. “Help Tesla continue to develop safer vehicles by sharing camera data from your vehicle. This updated will allow you to enable the built-in cabin camera above the rearview mirror,” said the Release Notes for the feature.
“If enabled, Tesla will automatically capture images and a short video clip just prior to a collision or safety even to help engineers develop safety features and enhancements in the future. As usual, you can adjust your data sharing preferences by apps 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.”
The Release Notes explain the main reason Tesla chose to activate the Cabin Camera feature now. It will most likely produce images and footage to help the Autopilot team understand the movement or reactions of a vehicle while on the road with the driver’s actions in mind.
Even so, Cabin Camera would be one step closer to the release of Tesla’s Robotaxi fleet. During TSLA’s Q4 2019 Earnings Call, Elon Musk considered allowing owners to be drivers in Tesla’s ride-hailing network. The move would get Robotaxi on the road while FSD received proper regulatory approval.
“Well, I think it’s — probably will make sense to have like to enable car sharing in advance of the kind of sort of drive Robotaxi fleet because the car-sharing can be done before Full Self-Driving is approved by regulators. So it’s probably something that we would enable before sort of Robotaxi fleet is enabled. And, it sounded like there were some other questions bundled in there,” he said.
The Cabin Camera feature could add some security for passengers and drivers using Tesla’s ride-hailing service. It would probably also provide some much-needed data for Tesla while it waits for regulatory approval for FSD.
Cabin Camera could also be useful for Police Mode, a feature a some Tesla enthusiasts have proposed on Reddit. Reddit user u/pobody explained what Police Mode could do in a post. “It would be great if Tesla offered a “police mode”. During a pull-over, all cameras (including the interior one) should be activated along with the interior microphone. Footage should be saved similarly to a Sentry mode event. For bonus points, also upload it to the cloud and make it retrievable by the vehicle owner. The rear camera could be used to detect the pattern of emergency lights, and either start recording automatically (settable in preferences) or just present a UI button to start recording,” the Redditor wrote.
The Cabin Camera feature could provide footage from inside the car when a person is pulled over. So, passengers would be able to capture everything that happens during it.
While Cabin Camera’s potential usefulness could vary, some people feel uncomfortable with someone watching them. After all, a person’s car could sometimes be the place private or personal matters occur. So Tesla may want to consider people’s suggestions and thoughts on Cabin Camera before launching the feature.