Cars equipped with cameras facing outward is nothing new and is used for all kinds of safety and object-detection purposes. Cars with built-in cameras facing inside to record people are, however, almost unheard of. As one that often calls dibs of certain features, Tesla’s Model 3 is indeed one such rare breed. But before you panic about your privacy, CEO Elon Musk officially confirmed it is not for that. It doesn’t limit the company, however, from going beyond that initial purpose.
The Tesla Model 3’s cabin-facing camera is all part of Musk’s grand plan to have a fleet of Tesla robotaxis in the future. Because these taxis won’t have any driver or human supervision, Tesla needed a way to keep an eye on passengers and record evidence of any inappropriate activities. Musk confirms that is exactly the case.
The fact that the Model 3 has an in-cabin camera, one that has admittedly remained inactive for years, might still cause some to be a little bit uncomfortable. Indeed, Tesla’s software mentions the camera’s connection not just to the car’s Autopilot system but also to a “Tesla Network”. And, of course, it opens up an avenue for hackers to take a peep into your car if it will indeed be connected to the Internet.
It’s hard to imagine that Tesla will be limiting the camera’s use just for a use case that is still years in the making. The company’s other plans, however, do hint at future uses of that camera. Those include anything from identifying the driver for a more personalized experience to recording your very own “Caraoke”. It can also be used for the car’s Sentry mode to record break-ins.
When those will come to pass, however, is still unknown at this point. It has been three years after all and no actual use case for the camera has been launched yet. And, to its credit, there hasn’t been any recorded invasions of privacy, or at least none that we have heard of yet.