An unknown hacker named 'Green' has revealed the reason behind a camera situated on the rear-view mirror of thousands of new Tesla cars. The camera may be a device to monitor whether drivers are using their phones or otherwise distracted when behind the wheel.
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, claimed that the camera would be used to prevent vandalism in future self-driving taxis. But, the latest revelation appears to show that it is instead used to monitor drivers.
The hacker also discovered a series of key words within the electric car’s software. The key words detects a driver’s actions moments before an accident to help determine the cause.
The hacker revealed the key word to be "Blinded", "eyes closed", "phone use" and "head down".
Although the camera are installed with every new Tesla Model 3 and Model Y, it is reported when they were first introduced three years ago that they will remain inactive until a future software update is done.
A Twitter user speculated early in April that the camera would be used in "robotaxis" in order to prevent passengers from damaging the car.
The user, Marty Tee, posted that "If they vandalise your car, it’s on camera and they’ll pay for the damage and possibly get charged criminally," to which Musk responded, "Correct".
The cameras however, were finally activated for the first time a few months ago after the correct software updates were completed. Tesla told users it would be for research purposes and stated that it would help make vehicles safer in the future.
"If enabled, Tesla will automatically capture images and a short video clip just prior to a collision or safety event to help engineers develop safety features and enhancements in the future," Tesla stated.
Fred Lambert, editor-in-chief of electric vehicle blog Electrek, shared that he is happy to see Tesla developing better driver monitoring and wrote, "It’s one of the biggest weaknesses of Tesla’s Autopilot in my opinion."