Tesla Guide: Number of Cameras, Their Locations, Uses and How To View Them

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla's cameras around placed strategically around the vehicle
Tesla's cameras around placed strategically around the vehicle
Tesla

In Tesla's mission to shape the future of sustainable transportation, a pivotal part is played by its camera systems. Designed to enhance safety, enable autonomous features, and provide security against threats, these cameras have evolved significantly over the years.

The Evolution of Tesla's Camera Systems: From MobileEye to Hardware 4

Tesla's journey with integrating cameras into their vehicles started post-2014. The early models with the Autopilot 1 (AP1) system used technology from MobileEye, a leader in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).

However, with the arrival of the Model 3 and Model Y and the 2021 redesigned Model S and Model X, the game changed. All these models now feature nine cameras. Fast forward to 2023, some models are now equipped with Hardware 4.0 (HW4), which have eight higher resolution cameras, and reduce the front-facing cameras to two.

Front Cameras

Teslas have three front-facing cameras with HW3 and two with HW 4
Teslas have three front-facing cameras with HW3 and two with HW 4
Tesla

The front cameras are located at the top of the windshield. They consist of a camera with a typical lens, a wide-angle lens, and a telephoto lens. The telephoto camera can see up to 250 meters ahead according to Tesla, ideal for high-speed Autopilot use, while the main lens covers 150 meters. In addition, the wide-angle lens gives a panoramic-like view for navigation at complex intersections and tight curves.

Rear View Camera

The rearview camera is positioned above the license plate. It provides a view of up to 50 meters behind the vehicle, assisting with parking, reverse driving and reverse automatic emergency braking.

Fender Cameras

Teslas contain a camera on each fender that points toward the rear of the vehicle at about a 45° angle. This allows the vehicle to see vehicles to its side and help monitor the vehicle's blind spots.

These cameras can also be viewed by the driver when using Tesla's blind spot monitor feature, or by enabling the side cameras while in reverse, which displays the reverse camera feed, along with the fender or 'repeater' cameras.

B-Pillar Cameras

Tesla vehicles also include two other side cameras that are found on the B-pillar. Instead of aiming backward like the repeater cameras, these cameras are aimed toward the front of the vehicle. This allows them to capture areas in the front half of the vehicle. These cameras aid with intersections, parking and more. Unfortunately, the video from these cameras can only be viewed while the vehicle is parked and by going to Controls > Service and tapping on 'Preview Cameras'.

Cabin Camera

All current Tesla models include a cabin camera. The camera is located above the rearview mirror and monitors driver attentiveness, especially when Autopilot is in use. You can view the cabin camera onscreen by navigating to Controls > Service > Preview Cabin Camera. You can also view it through the Tesla app if Sentry Mode is enabled and Sentry Mode Live Access is available in your region.

Future Bumper Camera

Looking ahead, newer Tesla models are expected to feature a bumper camera, as seen in the Cybertruck prototypes. Additionally, with hardware 4.0, the cameras have a higher resolution and an anti-glare coating for enhanced visibility.

Functionality Unveiled: The Multifaceted Uses of Tesla's Cameras

Tesla's cameras play a vital role in the advanced features the vehicles are known for. Their primary use is for the Autopilot system and active safety features like Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB). Furthermore, Sentry Mode and Dashcam features use cameras to record potential threats when parked and on the road. In newer models, the cabin camera monitors driver attentiveness to ensure safety during Autopilot use.

View, Access and Calibrate

Tesla now lets you preview all cameras included in your vehicle
Tesla now lets you preview all cameras included in your vehicle
Simon

While driving, you can access the rear and fender cameras through the center display. To test or preview other cameras, you can navigate to Controls > Service > Preview Cameras, and then select the camera you'd like to preview at the top of the screen. In addition, through the Tesla app, remote viewing capabilities are available for five of the vehicle's cameras, including the front-facing camera, fender cameras, rear camera, and cabin camera.

If you're noticing issues with your vehicle's cameras, Tesla provides the ability to calibrate them. It's a simple process initiated from the vehicle's touchscreen, although certain features like Autopilot will be unavailable until the process completes.

Confidentiality in Focus: Tesla's Data Privacy Measures

Tesla takes data privacy seriously. For example, the cabin camera doesn't save or transmit data unless data sharing is enabled in your car's settings. For Sentry Mode and Dashcam footage, data is stored locally and can be accessed only by the owner.

Tesla's advanced camera systems play an integral role in enhancing vehicle safety, providing driver-assist features, and creating a robust security layer. However, understanding the function and usage of these cameras is essential for maximizing the benefits. With Tesla continuously innovating, exciting enhancements, like bumper cameras and upgraded hardware, lie on the horizon, promising to take vehicular safety and autonomy to the next level.

Tesla Begins Testing FSD in China

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla was recently granted permission to test FSD on Chinese streets – specifically in Shanghai. Just recently, Elon Musk visited China and discussed the potential for FSD to come to China.

Gearing Up for FSD China

This is just the first step for Tesla to begin its customer deployments of FSD – Tesla conducts similar ADAS testing in North America, where special testing vehicles and testing employees run the latest FSD (Supervised) versions against a gamut of real-world, real-life tests.

Tesla has recently been working on translating FSD release notes into multiple languages, alongside building a data center in Shanghai and establishing an FSD Operations and Labelling team at the same center. These are the first, key steps to bringing FSD to a new market that has unique and different traffic rules when compared North America.

China doesn’t have the regulatory hurdles or challenges that Tesla faces in Europe to bring FSD and has been working with Chinese corporations as well as the government, which has now provided its official approval for FSD testing in-country.

We might even see FSD deployed to early testing customers in China by the end of 2025.

ADAS Competitors

There are quite a few competitors in the Chinese market already- with challengers like Xpeng and Xiaomi working on building their own homegrown systems, mostly driven by a mixture of cameras, radars, ultrasonic sensors, and LIDAR. However, many of these systems face similar challenges to other non-Chinese competitors and don’t have the mileage under their belts to tackle Tesla’s dominating lead in data and data processing.

European Union

Tesla is poising itself for an FSD rollout internationally, with increased testing also taking place in the UK, France, and Spain – some of the key locations with unique infrastructure in the European Union. However, some EU-specific regulations restrict how FSD can perform – each and every action must be manually approved by the driver. Until that regulation is changed to adapt to systems like FSD, it won’t be making its way there just yet.

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.

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