We know Big Brother is watching you, but is it equally unsettling to know Elon is watching you?
Elon Musk’s Tesla cars now have an update that places a camera behind the rearview mirror to monitor drivers’ actions while the vehicle’s Autopilot feature is in use.
The good news for conspiracy theorists is that the information won’t leave the vehicle unless the owner allows it to be transmitted via the data-sharing option found among the car’s settings.
Although it is frequently referred to as a “self-driving” tool, Autopilot is actually defined by the company as a “driver assist” tool and has been shown to be easily tricked by drivers who have left the front seat, proving their tactics work via video posts.
But the new feature “can now detect and alert driver inattentiveness while Autopilot is engaged,” the company’s release notes say.
Formerly, the Tesla’s cars have relied on radar sensors in the wheel to make sure the driver’s hands remain on it.
Tesla, in its statements, said the changes involving the elimination of radar would affect some features, some of which would be “temporarily limited or inactive,” but would be “restored” soon via software updates.
The move being rolled out in the Model 3 and Model Y vehicles sold in the U.S. comes at a time during which Tesla is struggling with its public profile regarding safety.
Consumer Reports pulled its safety endorsement for Tesla shortly after a deadly crash in Texas during which there may have been no one in the driver’s seat. Both models no longer have the “Top Safety Pick Plus” designation.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the U.S. told news outlets it will be taking away its “Top Pick” label for those Teslas because of the absence of radar.