Tesla’s driver monitoring system detects mobile phone use

Earlier Tesla was only equipped with pressure sensors on the steering wheel, which wouldn’t notice if the driver is looking ahead or not. While the camera-based system was known to be partially effective, it was known to not detect the drive using a mobile phone. With the recent developments that changes, and Tesla driver monitoring system can no detect when a driver is using a phone.

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The camera-based DMS was designed to detect the attention of the driver. It is one of the most significant detection by the system. Most drivers tend to use their smartphones while driving, and this development had to come before Tesla made progress with other developments in autonomous driving systems.

In the release notes Tesla described it as, “The cabin camera above your rearview mirror can now detect and alert driver inattentiveness while Autopilot is engaged. Camera data does not leave the car itself, which means the system cannot save or transmit information unless data sharing is enabled.”

Tesla Raj is a Model 3 owner and FSD Beta tester tried if the camera could detect his attention. The results were interesting, as he was trying to find when the car warned and when it didn’t.

Testing the camera-based driver monitoring system

Every Tesla has 8 cameras but the camera located above the rearview mirror is different from the 8 cameras. This camera was there without much use until recently. While testing, when the driver was using the phone, the vehicle sent out a loud warning after 15 seconds of usage. The car beeped and flashed blue don’t the screen. Later he tested by keeping eyes engaged but without hands on the wheel. Then after about 30 seconds, the car warns with a blue blink on the screen, asking the driver to hold the steering. The car can clearly detect human behavior from not being attentive to not holding the steering wheel.

The warning system usually has many processes like blue blinking, faster blue blinking, audible chime, and then stop the car from driving. It means at any stage if the driver doesn’t take over, the car would stop. It is interesting how the car skips all the stages of blue blinking, and then immediately skips to audible chime.

Tesla has been actively working on improving its vision-based driver monitoring system. And the results show that the car company has advanced a lot more than anticipated. Their idea of using pure vision seems to be pushing the FSD towards the next level.