Tesla Releases New Software to Monitor Driver Attention

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Jane Lu
Updated on Apr 27, 2022 · 3 min read
has just pushed a new software update to monitor whether or not drivers are paying attention when Autopilot is on. Policymakers and auto companies have been trying to encourage the use of
driver monitoring systems
to reduce driver inattention.
Being distracted on the road is dangerous and costly. Having safety systems available will reduce your risk of accidents, and can help you get discounts on
car insurance
. How did Tesla update their driver monitoring systems and why are these safety features important?
Tesla is making a much needed update to its autopilot technology | Twenty20

How is Tesla updating the safety systems in their cars?

According to
, Tesla owners shared photos of the new Tesla software on social media. The new update allows the camera above the rear-view mirror to detect distracted driving and alert the driver when Autopilot is being used.
Tesla included an in-car camera that faces the cabin for recording short clips
after a crash
or if emergency braking is activated. However, this camera feature is turned off by default. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that it was meant to prevent vandalism in a "robotaxi future."
This news of the software update is surprising. In the past, Tesla has relied only on detecting pressure on the steering wheel to make sure drivers are paying attention. The company was not completely on board with the idea of camera monitoring.

This Tesla update brings it more in line with other automakers

Critics and other automakers in the industry have been pushing for camera monitoring to make sure drivers are paying attention. Tesla’s Autopilot driver assist system is not regulated by the government. As reported by CNN, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has called for safety regulations on those systems.
An MIT study found that Tesla drivers are more distracted when they use Autopilot, which helps steer the car and keep up with traffic. Drivers who use these systems more frequently look away from the road. They ignore Tesla’s warnings and guidance to stay aware and keep their hands on the wheel.
In 2018, Tesla engineers wanted to add eye tracking to Autopilot. The idea was rejected due to costs and concerns that it would be ineffective and annoying to drivers.

Why are driver monitoring systems important?

After the
deady Tesla crash
, there has been increased debate around Autopilot technology. Recently, a man was arrested in California for riding in the backseat of his Tesla when Autopilot was on, as mentioned by CNN. In-car driving cameras make sure that drivers are paying attention to keep the roads safer for everyone on it.
Distracted driving will have to be addressed further as the auto industry moves towards producing more self-driving cars and autonomous vehicles. Mobileye, a former Tesla partner, has criticized Tesla’s driver-assist systems.
Mobileye founder, Amnon Shashua said, "It's not enough to tell the driver you need to be alert. You need to tell the driver why to be alert, it's not only lawyer talk." A key part of defensive driving is making sure you are aware of any potential hazards on the road, so you can avoid them.
Driver monitoring systems help make sure you’re aware as driving your car starts to demand less and less attention. If you’re a safe driver, you shouldn’t have to overpay for car insurance.
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