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NHTSA Asks Tesla About the Purpose and Effectiveness of Its Cabin Cameras

Tesla states on its page about safety and security features that all Model 3 and Model Y came with cabin cameras, while only Model S and Model X units made after 2021 have them. Curiously, these cameras only started monitoring drive awareness in May 2021. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) now wants Tesla to explain their purpose and effectiveness.
NHTSA wants to know what cabin cameras are supposed to do in Tesla vehicles and how effective they are 16 photos
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The safety regulator is investigating crashes with Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD), in which driver monitoring could have played a crucial role in avoiding deaths. Until the May 2021 update, the cameras were supposed to prevent robotaxis from being trashed, as Musk confirmed in a tweet on April 12, 2020. In other words, they would only be used if Tesla ever accomplished its CEO's repeated autonomous driving promises, which it never did.

According to Reuters, NHTSA gave Tesla until October 12 to answer the nine-page letter filled with questions about "the role that the Cabin Camera plays in the enforcement of driver engagement/attentiveness." The safety regulator also wants "recoverable data elements pointing to its influence." In other words, it wants Tesla to prove the cabin camera is effective in preventing distraction and overreliance.

Consumer Reports proved the cabin camera could not avoid these scenarios in a test with its Model S with FSD. The consumer protection organization covered the camera and got no warning or disengagement of the system. Tesla only updated that last June, but it only works with FSD, not Autopilot.

Tesla’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) have been under massive scrutiny lately. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) said the company was misleading customers with Autopilot and FSD. According to Reuters, the company asked the DMV for a hearing. It wants to present its defense on the DMV accusations.

Although NHTSA seems to be finally acting, some people think it gave Tesla an unreasonable amount of time to answer. Some asked why doesn’t the safety regulator let Tesla answer next year or even later. Losing its Senate-confirmed administrator only two months after confirmation also makes people wonder what is happening at NHTSA. The U.S. is facing the highest traffic-death rates in years, and the safety agency quickly needs to show it is working to prevent them quickly.



 
 
 
 
 

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