Tesla adds Driver Monitoring System, DMS to Model 3 and Model Y cars with a cabin camera

By Nuno Cristovao

Tesla Autopilot has always required and will require full driver attention for the foreseeable future. Tesla enforced this by detecting whether torque was being applied to the steering wheel.

Tesla's DMS

Tesla has relied on this method since the introduction of Autopilot, but unfortunately there have been several flaws with it for years.

Since Tesla is looking for a certain amount of force to be applied to the steering wheel, sometimes the car can ask for the driver’s attention even when the driver is attentive and their hands are on the steering wheel. The interval that the car checks for active participation has changed over the years, but with it being somewhere around 30-60 seconds, it can sometimes become an annoyance to drivers.

The second reason that detecting torque on the steering wheel doesn’t work well as a driver monitoring system is that it is easily defeated. There have been numerous devices that mimic the force of hands on the steering wheel and let's face it, it doesn’t lead to anything good for the driver or Tesla.

Tesla's Driver Monitoring System

Yesterday we saw the first vehicles to introduce a true driver monitoring system. For vehicles with a cabin camera, which include all Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, Tesla will be able to turn on their camera-based driver monitoring system (DMS). It appears that the feature is currently limited to the US and only for radar-less cars, but we expect this to change in the future. The release notes for 2021.4.15.11 state that:

Update: With the release of update 2021.32.5, Tesla has started to roll out driver monitoring to vehicles with radar as well. It is also expanding the feature to outside of the US.

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 shared is enabled. To change your data settings, tap Controls > Safety & Security > Data Sharing on your car's touchscreen.

Much like Tesla implements FSD, the cabin camera will be recording and analyzing the video stream and attempting to detect several objects and driver attributes. Each attribute then gets a probability assigned to it. If the threshold is high enough for any given attribute that Tesla deems as the driver not paying attention, then the car can take additional action from there such as turn off Autopilot, pull over or ask the driver to pay attention.

According to GreenTheOnly on Twitter, the camera will be detecting whether the driver is looking down or to the side and tracking eye movement and detecting other things as well such as whether the driver is wearing sunglasses and how well the camera can see. Although Tesla is looking for a variety of distractions, it looks like they are only currently triggering alerts when the driver is on their phone and not looking at the road.

The first cars have started rolling out with this feature enabled and it hasn't replaced Tesla’s steering wheel torque detection, but is providing another layer of protection. We hope as Tesla expands its capability in the future it may one day replace having your hands on the Tesla wheel completely.

Tesla has also recently rolled out detecting whether there is a driver in the driver’s seat during the use of Autopilot. It’s possible Tesla will create an algorithm with all of these attributes and ultimately decide whether the driver is paying attention or not. This could greatly reduce the amount of times the driver is asked to pay attention when they already are and also increase safety by reminding us when we’re not.

Growing Interest in Electric Trucks Among Drivers, but Tesla Cybertruck Faces Skepticism

By Kevin Armstrong
Electric truck survey was completed by AmericanTrucks.com
Electric truck survey was completed by AmericanTrucks.com
AmericanTrucks.com

Oh, the irony! American truck drivers are all revved up for electric trucks, yet they can't wrap their heads around the idea that the Tesla Cybertruck is a "real" truck. Sounds like a classic case of a truck identity crisis!

A recent survey by American Trucks delved into the opinions of truck drivers in the United States about electric trucks, revealing a sizable number of them are considering going electric. However, an interesting finding from the survey is that many truck drivers don't see the Tesla Cybertruck as a "real" truck.

The survey aimed to gauge the excitement around electric pickup trucks and understand the preferences of both truck owners and non-truck owners. Electric vehicles have been gaining popularity, but electric pickup trucks have taken longer to enter the market. With more models becoming available, American Trucks sought to identify which ones generate the most interest.

Truck Drivers are Ready for Electric

According to the survey's results, 35% of truck drivers are thinking about transitioning to electric trucks within the next decade, with most planning to do so within the next five years. The electric pickup models that have captured their attention include the Ford F-150 Lightning, Tesla Cybertruck, Chevrolet Silverado EV, Toyota Tacoma EV, Rivian R1T, GMC Sierra EV, and Canoo Pickup Truck.

Drivers' slower adoption of electric trucks can be attributed to valid concerns. While range anxiety is becoming less of an issue for most passenger vehicles, it is still significant for truck drivers who use their vehicles for heavy-duty tasks like towing. Electric trucks' range can be affected under these conditions, leading to driver hesitancy.

Cybertruck Gets the Attention

Interestingly, when the survey shifted its focus to non-truck drivers, the Tesla Cybertruck emerged as the most anticipated electric pickup. This finding suggests a difference in perception between truck drivers and the general public, who might be more attracted to Cybertruck's futuristic design and unique features.

Despite the Cybertruck's popularity among non-truck drivers, 56% of the truck drivers surveyed don't believe it is a "real" truck. The reasons for this perception remain unclear, but it could be due to the unconventional design, the vehicle's specifications, or other factors that might not align with traditional truck drivers' expectations.

Electric truck survey was completed by AmericanTrucks.com
Electric truck survey was completed by AmericanTrucks.com
AmericanTrucks.com

Production Concerns

Tesla has announced plans to begin Cybertruck production this summer, but many truck drivers surveyed believe it will be at least two years before it becomes widely available. Their skepticism might also be influenced by Tesla's track record of production delays and the fact that there are already around a million reservations for the Cybertruck.

Truck drivers are seeking longer ranges, increased availability of charging stations, and faster charging times before they fully commit to switching to electric trucks. These factors play a crucial role in ensuring that electric trucks can be effectively used for work purposes, just as their gasoline-powered counterparts have been for years. It will be interesting to see how perceptions change and whether the Tesla Cybertruck can eventually win over the hearts of traditional truck drivers.

We recently covered how the Cybertruck is expected to have an 18.5" screen, rear-wheel steering and 18" wheels.

Tesla Model 3 Long Range Price Appears on Tesla's Website: Is It Set to Make a Comeback?

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla's Model 3 Long Range may be set to make a comeback
Tesla's Model 3 Long Range may be set to make a comeback
Not a Tesla App

Tesla halted production of the immensely popular Model 3 Long Range last summer due to an overwhelming backlog of orders extending well into 2023. This move left customers with only the base, rear-wheel drive version and much more expensive performance version of the Model 3 available for purchase.

However, recent developments suggest that Tesla might soon begin accepting orders for the Model 3 Long Range once again. One of our readers, Jake Bercic, pointed out that the price of the Long Range Model 3 has appeared on a Canadian Tesla support page. The price appears among other Tesla models, which all reflect current pricing.

Update: It looks like Tesla has kept the Model 3 Long Range model on this support page, and they updated the pricing in January 2023.

The prices displayed on the Canadian support page for the Long Range Model 3 are:

Rear wheel drive: $54,990 CAD (this version in the US: $42,990)

Dual motor Long Range: $67,990 CAD (equal to approximately $49,700 USD)

Performance: $72,990 CAD (this version in the US: $53,990)

Project Highland and New Price

The possible return of the Model 3 Long Range comes amidst speculation of Tesla's Project Highland - the refreshed Model 3. We recently uncovered more details about Project Highland. The possible reintroduction of the Model 3 Long Range, coupled with Project Highland, could signal a new chapter in Tesla's EV dominance. By bringing back a highly sought-after model and potentially introducing a new and improved version, Tesla continues to demonstrate its commitment to innovation and meeting the increasing demand for electric vehicles.

The possible reintroduction of the Model 3 Long Range, coupled with Project Highland, could signal a new chapter in Tesla's EV dominance. By bringing back a highly sought-after model and potentially introducing a new and improved version, Tesla continues to demonstrate its commitment to innovation and meeting the increasing demand for electric vehicles.

Tax Credits

This development is particularly noteworthy, as the Model 3 Long Range's previous price of $57,990 USD, made it ineligible for the new US tax credit for electric cars. With the new regulation, a price cap of $55,000 applies to passenger car models, and $80,000 for SUVs and pickups. That means all Model 3's are eligible for the $7,500 tax credit.

The halt in Model 3 Long Range production came after Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned about potential order freezes due to a sharp increase in demand for electric cars in several regions of the United States. Musk had stated that once Tesla increased production, the model variant would return to the market. Now, it seems that the time for its return might be near.

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Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

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