Patent reveals what Tesla's curious cabin-facing camera actually does

26 July 2019 - 08:34 By AFP Relaxnews
A Tesla Model 3.
A Tesla Model 3.
Image: Supplied

On Wednesday, Elektrek spotted a patent published earlier this month describing what that cabin-facing camera, currently inactive, located above the rearview mirror in every Tesla Model 3 will eventually be used for.

Inside the Tesla Model 3, owners can find a small camera facing back towards the cabin, integrated into the connecting bridge of the rearview mirror. So far, this device has yet to serve a purpose. In fact, it's completely inactive.

Not long after the model was first launched in 2017, Tesla confirmed that the camera will only become active with a future software update. Two years later, this feature is still dormant. Earlier this month, however, a patent was published describing how the device will be used.

While it was previously expected that the camera will serve as part of the vehicle's autonomous driving system, and company CEO Elon Musk did confirm that it will be, in part, the patent revealed that it will also be part of an upcoming "personalisation system."

Based on the "spatial location of occupant's body parts", as recognised by the camera, the vehicle will be able to identify individual people and automatically personalise their in-car experiences. Among the adjustments that could potentially be made once a person is recognised include tailoring the driver's seat position, modifying the mirror directions, setting the radio, music and driving mode to their preferences.

Currently, the Tesla Model 3 can already make these changes based on the driver's profile selection, but enabling a camera to identify people would speed up the process.