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.

Tesla Cybertruck to Receive Charging Improvements in Upcoming Update

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Former Tesla VP of Powertrain and Energy Drew Baglino previously mentioned that Cybertruck would be receiving charging improvements soon.

Wes Morrill, Tesla’s Cybertruck lead engineer, recently reposted Baglino’s comments on the charge speed update on June 16th and mentioned that it would be coming soon via OTA.

Charging Improvements

The 4680 cell has seen some difficulties in its charge curve, similar to Tesla’s other vehicles that have been deployed with the 4680. Tesla has alluded to difficulties in the manufacturing curve previously, and also with engineering improvements to the new cell standard, and eventually stopped manufacturing the Model Y with the 4680 cells.

However, this is the first time that Tesla has begun to deploy major improvements to the 4680 cell. It appears the improvements will allow up to 154 miles to be recovered in 15 minutes, which is approximately a 30% improvement to current charge rates.

We’re hoping that these improvements to the 4680 will also translate to older Model Y vehicles that have 4680 cells, which will be key to the owners of these vehicles. 4680 production is currently mainly focused on Powerwall, Megapack, and Cybertruck – with Semi not using 4680 yet.

Tesla Model 3 Long Range Now Eligible for $7.5K Tax Credit

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

In the US, the Model 3 Long Range has now become fully eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit for EVs.

Federal Tax Credit

The federal tax credit is up to $7,500 USD off at the point of sale, which applies to EVs with batteries originating from the United States. The Model 3 Performance was launched with the EV tax credit, which meant that until now, it was cheaper to purchase than the Model 3 Long Range.

Interestingly, after this change, the Model 3 Long Range is only $1,000 USD more expensive than the Model 3 Rear Wheel Drive, as the RWD model is not eligible for the credit. The LFP batteries in the RWD model are from CATL in China, and thus mark it as ineligible.

At $40,000 USD, the Model 3 Long Range is now an even better deal than before – and is nearly $7,500 less (the amount of the credit), than the average new car in the United States.

Canadian EV Credits

In Canada, Tesla dropped the Model 3 RWD price by $1,000 CAD, in response to the province of  British Colombia reducing the upper limit of their EV credit MSRP range. This means that the Model 3 RWD is the only Tesla vehicle that is covered under the new BC rebate – which is one of the few provincial rebates still left standing.

Sadly, as a result of this change, and due to a weird classification gimmick, the Model Y is considered a sedan by the Government of BC and is completely ineligible for the additional rebates – but the $5,000 federal EV rebate still applies.

Tesla vehicles accounted for 80% of federal EV rebate applications in Canada in 2023, marking a net increase since last year at 60%.

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