Elon Musk confirms Tesla in-cabin camera is meant to help owners monitor robo-taxis from afar

Elon Musk confirms Tesla Model 3’s in-cabin camera will be used to help owners monitor robo-taxis from afar

  • Elon Musk confirmed one use for the Model 3’s mysterious in-cabin camera
  • In a tweet, Musk said it could be used to monitor robo-taxi vandalism
  • The tweet followed a video that showed what the camera sees for the first time
  • An in-cabin camera could also be coupled with facial recognition to automatically change settings depending on the passenger 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is finally giving some insight into why the automaker’s Model 3 comes equipped with an in-cabin camera.

On Twitter, Musk off-handedly confirmed that the mysterious cabin-facing camera, which has been a part of the original design since the Model 3 was unveiled, will help aid the company in its quest to eventually use the cars as robo-taxis.

The confirmation from Musk came in response to research on the mysterious cabin cam that uncovered exactly what it sees.

In a tweet, one user hypothesized  that the camera was, ‘most likely for Robotaxis, if they vandalize your car, it’s on camera and they’ll pay for the damage and possibly get charge criminally.’

In response, Musk tweeted simply, ‘correct.’

Theoretically, the camera would allow anyone using their car as a robo-taxi to monitor passengers inside and in the event that any damage was done to the interior, owners could hold passengers liable.

This time last year, Tesla promised that it would have one million robotaxis – autonomous vehicles that are capable of carting passengers around driverlessly – by 2020.

While that goal, for any number of reasons, is probably unrealistic, Tesla has made steps towards materializing its mission by building its own chip for robo-taxis which is now installed in all Tesla cars, meaning in the future any of the company’s vehicles could be converted.

A video (pictured) showed what Tesla’s in-cain camera sees for the first time. The camera may also be used to adjust settings using facial recognition

Though Musk seems to have confirmed that Tesla’s in-cabin camera will be used to help monitor robo-taxis when they’re finally on the road, sustainable transit blog, Electrek, has also suggested that the cameras could come in handy for other things.

Specifically, Electrek suggested that the camera could also be used to monitor driver attention when passengers have the autopilot feature activated. 

This could help improve safety and make sure that drivers aren’t using autopilot – which is not a fully autonomous mode – unsafely. 

Alternatively, Tesla has also applied for a patent that would use computer vision  technology and recognize passengers when they enter the car. From there, the vehicle could automatically apply certain settings for those who share one car.