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Update enables cabin camera for driver monitoring....I guess excluding models S & X?

azred

Active Member
Apr 12, 2016
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Chandler, AZ
This old cabin camera thread appears to have changed topics a few times over the weeks so let me try to get it back on topic.

Does anyone know if Elon/Tesla has ever commented on how FSD cars without cabin cameras will be treated if/when Level 4/5 finally arrives? My 2018 3 obviously has the cabin camera but my 12/2016 S obviously does not. (I paid for FSD on both but have sadly concluded my S will never have Level 4/5 without adding an interior camera. But I am just guessing and don’t know if Elon has commented. Please don’t bother replying with your guess as the only opinion I am inquiring about is Tesla/Elon’s if he has expressed one.)
 
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JHCCAZ

Electrified Engineer
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Feb 2, 2021
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This old cabin camera thread appears to have changed topics a few times over the weeks so let me try to get it back on topic.

Does anyone know if Elon/Tesla has ever commented on how FSD cars without cabin cameras will be treated if/when Level 4/5 finally arrives? My 2018 3 obviously has the cabin camera but my 12/2016 S obviously does not. (I paid for FSD on both but have sadly concluded my S will never have Level 4/5 without adding an interior camera. But I am just guessing and don’t know if Elon has commented. Please don’t bother replying with your guess as the only opinion I care about is Tesla/Elon’s if he has expressed one.)
I do not have the answer for you regarding Elon or T esla's statements, however I'd like to understand your question better.

The topic of the thread is about using the cabin camera for driver monitoring. When L4/L5 comes, there will be no need for driver monitoring or even for a driver. In that case the only need for the camera would be for general occupant monitoring when used as a Robotaxi, or for remote safety monitoring of children or non-fully-independent adult passengers. It's then not for traffic or vehicle safety, but for passenger safety in a caregiver and/or anti-criminality sense. Not needed if you're an adult passenger in your private autonomous L4/L5 car.

The need for a driver monitoring camera clearly applies not to L4/L5, but to driver-required modes like L2.* so that's why I'm not really understanding the the question about the camera for L4/L5 modes, nor your comment that
"I paid for FSD on both but have sadly concluded my S will never have Level 4/5 without adding an interior camera"

* Noting that even this L2 monitor-camera requirement is true only If we accept the stipulation - that we can't simply rely on L2 drivers to pay attention on their own adult responsibility - and if we can't, then shouldn't it arguably follow that all drivers, of L0/L1/L2 cars, need such a camera overwatch?​
Per your wish, I'm not expressing my own opinion, just trying to get everyone on the same page regarding assumptions.​
 
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Level 1

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Aug 10, 2021
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When L4/L5 comes, there will be no need for driver monitoring or even for a driver.

While technically true, there is a huge asterisk next to L4 if you restrict yourself to those conditions... In L5, the car drives itself 100% of the time. But in L4, the car can only fully self drive in restricted environments - which may be geofenced, or may be selective by road types, weather conditions, etc.

My opinion is that as long as you still need the driver "sometimes", Tesla is going to want that fallback L2/L3 experience to be as good and safe as possible... which will mean we will probably still see these driver monitoring systems present until we hit full L5. If they hit L4 and removed the driver camera, then the L3/L2 modes become worse, and I'm not sure they would go there.

Remember too that Tesla cares strongly about L2/L3 safety, because accidents (and the bad press) are a hurdle that sets back ALL self-driving, not just L2/L3. It's in Tesla's best interest to install those cameras and keep them around.
 

JHCCAZ

Electrified Engineer
Supporting Member
Feb 2, 2021
487
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While technically true, there is a huge asterisk next to L4 if you restrict yourself to those conditions... In L5, the car drives itself 100% of the time. But in L4, the car can only fully self drive in restricted environments - which may be geofenced, or may be selective by road types, weather conditions, etc.
Indeed there is a use case where the L4 car falls back from driverless autonomy to an L2 or lower automation state, and in that condition the arguments for/against driver monitoring also revert - but notably for the concern expressed by @azred , the limitation is still hinging on whether the L2 mode needs the driver monitoring. So again, that (lack of) interior camera won't be the reason his Model S can't get to L4 operation.

There is another L4 use case that I think will likely become the dominant one eventually: that the car is basically fully autonomous, i.e. the normal intent is not to revert to L2 in daily use, nor for extended trip segments (for which there would be a presumed danger of inattention or even pranking, that the monitoring is presumed to solve). Rather, the car is L4 simply because L5 is unrealistic. The car cannot promise to accept all trip requests under all conditions. Occasionally, though it agreed to run the trip, it can encounter difficult edge cases beyond its AI capability. Then it has to get itself off the road until the problem passes or until someone (a rider, a remote operator or someone else) can rescue it - likely a very short drive intervention to get back to the L4 trip. This kind of L4, because it doesn't involve much human operation, doesn't need the camera. Again I believe this will prove to be the dominant L4 experience in the long term.
My opinion is that as long as you still need the driver "sometimes", Tesla is going to want that fallback L2/L3 experience to be as good and safe as possible... which will mean we will probably still see these driver monitoring systems present until we hit full L5. If they hit L4 and removed the driver camera, then the L3/L2 modes become worse, and I'm not sure they would go there.
Some of this I already addressed, that "sometimes" may actually become "rarely". Also, though I avoided expressing my personal opinion in my prior post, I am far less convinced than others that the driver-monitoring camera is so essential to safety as people are making it out to be. It is one secondary component that addresses one or two kinds of potential poor use or abuse, but mostly it is becoming one of those totems to safety, and to satisfy a particular chorus of criticism. After it is addressed by Tesla, the critics will move on to the next thing that Tesla doesn't have. From this you should not assume that I'm cavalier about safety; far from it. It's just that I often don't agree with people's first reaction to the safety of new technology compared to old.
Remember too that Tesla cares strongly about L2/L3 safety, because accidents (and the bad press) are a hurdle that sets back ALL self-driving, not just L2/L3. It's in Tesla's best interest to install those cameras and keep them around.
Well of course it would be wrong to say that Tesla doesn't care about L2/L3 safety. But just as a reminder, the presence of the camera in the M3 and MY cars was not originally for driver safety or attentiveness monitoring. It was for Robotaxi passenger monitoring and two-way communication when necessary. It is being repurposed, with some shortcomings, to address the criticism about inattentiveness and/or pranking. I'm sure that given developments since then, Tesla wishes they had engineered it up front for this task. But that's not the same as saying that they believe it should really have been necessary to do that, only that in hindsight they wish they had predicted the outside pressure to do so.
 
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Randy Spencer

Supercharger Hunter
Mar 31, 2016
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Exactly, and why would you think the car can't be an L2 car in the future w/o a camera in the car? It's an L2 car NOW w/o a camera in the car. Even if someone passes a law about having to have cameras to operate as an L2, they would have to grandfather existing cars, you cannot pass a law saying manufacturers MUST install something in the past, only in the future and only with enough time for them to prepare.
 
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Level 1

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Exactly, and why would you think the car can't be an L2 car in the future w/o a camera in the car?

If this is in response to my post, please go back - that's not what I said. ;)

My point is the driver experience with a camera can be better than the driver experience without.
And L4 by definition has conditions or restrictions that require a fallback to L3 or below to continue the journey.
So once we have L4 cars, my opinion is that the driver monitoring camera will likely stick around, even if not "necessary", because it makes that L2 driving situation better for the driver.

Right now, Cadillac is getting a lot of good press for Super Cruise, which by having a driver attentiveness camera, is truly hands-free. The majority of comparative articles about Super Cruise make a point that this system is "better than Tesla", because Tesla isn't hands-off - it requires you to keep tugging on the wheel. Tesla doesn't want to be in 2nd place - so once their driver monitoring software matures, I'm betting the need to put torque on the steering wheel will go away and Tesla too will be hands-off. That would nullify the Super Cruise marketing advantage.
 

jeremymc7

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Feb 3, 2013
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U.S.
But then SuperCruise uses scanned and mapped navigation data along with IR illumination for the camera.

My take is that SC is better than AP in the areas it works; but AP (esp beta) is better elsewhere.

I find it interesting that while SC cars don’t have LiDAR, it is used to provide the mapped data. So while GM and Tesla are using similar tech inside the car GM is using LiDAR which might or might not provide an advantage to Tesla’s Vision. I’ve also wondered is stereoscope front cameras might helpful for Vision and cheaper / easier than LiDAR.
 

Randy Spencer

Supercharger Hunter
Mar 31, 2016
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Alameda, CA
I do love looking at the vistas as I drive on AP, and I wonder how SC handles that. Do they need my eyes up front constantly like I am planning EACH maneuver the car is actually going to take, or do I get to glance to see the waterfall, or can I linger to see a sunset?

I am happy to hold the wheel if it means my eyeballs are freer when I am cruising. There are just TOO many places where if I have lane centering I don't need to be watching the car, there just isn't anything else out here for me to hit, but I'd like to look at it w/o pulling into a vista turn out.

Some of my best photos from the car would not be possible if not for AP
 
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One can not have level 3 driving assistance if this car can not see in fog, snow, rain or head on bright sun light. For example, you are driving down highway 5 in Calif. And you come around a corner and suddenly hit heavy Tully fog. No place to pull over. What does the car do, suddenly stop in the road. How about a sudden heavy rain storm in the Midwest? Or a sudden snow storm with heavy fog in the northeast. The car needs the radar to 'see' in these situations. At least till the driver has a chance to stop safely.
Forget about fog, whenever it rains hard or I drive into the sun (west early evening and east morning) autopilot does not work due to reduced visibility.
 

jeremymc7

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Feb 3, 2013
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So what does a human do in pea soup fog? Seriously, tell me what you would do if you couldn't see 5 feet ahead?
You drive though it SLOWLY with hazards on until you get somewhere safe.

Sometimes when driving on the freeway it drops down and you suddenly get a thick fog. You're not going to stop on the freeway until it clears. Plus it's only in one area. So you slow down to a safe enough speed and you get through to the other side or you get off the nearest exist.

Likewise also had this happen when driving past my local airport. you come around the corner and fog just rolls in off the grass field. Again, not going to stop in middle of busy 4 lane airport road.

I've had both where it's clear and then either sudden heavy fog, or looks real light but then you can't see past the hood moments later. You drive through it at slow speed to avoid someone else hitting you.
 
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rxlawdude

Active Member
Jul 10, 2015
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Orange County, CA
You drive though it SLOWLY with hazards on until you get somewhere safe.

Sometimes when driving on the freeway it drops down and you suddenly get a thick fog. You're not going to stop on the freeway until it clears. Plus it's only in one area. So you slow down to a safe enough speed and you get through to the other side or you get off the nearest exist.

Likewise also had this happen when driving past my local airport. you come around the corner and fog just rolls in off the grass field. Again, not going to stop in middle of busy 4 lane airport road.

I've had both where it's clear and then either sudden heavy fog, or looks real light but then you can't see past the hood moments later. You drive through it at slow speed to avoid someone else hitting you.
You use your eyes. So does vision only FSD.
Explain how this is any different. Proceed slowly, blindly. I'm not sure how safe driving in zero visibility is for either, but the safety fallback should approximate what a reasonably competent driver would do.
 

jeremymc7

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Feb 3, 2013
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You use your eyes. So does vision only FSD.
Explain how this is any different. Proceed slowly, blindly. I'm not sure how safe driving in zero visibility is for either, but the safety fallback should approximate what a reasonably competent driver would do.

I was responding in thought of what I keep hearing from many other members regarding Vision, esp w/ dumping radar.

I keep hearing that if it's thick fog, heavy rain, whatever then a person shouldn't be driving. This agreement falls flat because depending on the circumstances it's much safe to continue onward to a safer location to avoid an even high risk. IE stopping on a blind corner on a narrow mountain pass just because heavy rain just started. It's safer to get around the corner, ideally to a turnout, even at 1 mph.

I'm not expecting the car to do it for me, at this point, or even at level 4. That should be a decision I make, and not the car.

But the argument people keep making is that if people can drive with vision alone, then so should the car. In circumstances where vision is less than ideal it's better to have something to fall back-on like Radar, LiDAR, whatever either as a comingled system like Tesla was doing before, OR just as a second tier system to pickup the slack to help get out of a risky situation where Vision is not enough, but you have "really" no choice but to go forward. Even if that means it's for use by the driver and not FSD.

An example is the IR camera's on Audi, Mercedes, and others. When driving in areas with no moonlight, and no streetlights it shows animals, people, and anything else with certain heat highlighted on the display. In those conditions most people are still going to drive if they say live out in the county. But the IR (or Radar or LiDAR, provides better than "human" vision to aid in driving, this "could" also potentially be leveraged by FSD.

Anyway... just by perspective, not arguing. Tesla is going to do what they want and I'm hear for the ride. If Audi, Mercedes, or whoever has something different that I prefer down the road I can always swap over, or just add another car to the garage.

Cheers everyone.
 

AlexParker

Member
Aug 5, 2020
200
160
Denver, CO
I think the problem is - things like IR or LIDAR can be workable for sensor fusion…but radar is not very good for that. Tesla dumped radar because it was causing more headaches. I actually do work in this field and I’ve agreed with Tesla’s decision to dump radar. If they also used IR or other full-frame signal acquisition technology, then I’d probably be more against it…but those are super expensive and Tesla is trying to get FSD to the masses, not to the rich.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
11,300
6,441
I was responding in thought of what I keep hearing from many other members regarding Vision, esp w/ dumping radar.

I keep hearing that if it's thick fog, heavy rain, whatever then a person shouldn't be driving. This agreement falls flat because depending on the circumstances it's much safe to continue onward to a safer location to avoid an even high risk. IE stopping on a blind corner on a narrow mountain pass just because heavy rain just started. It's safer to get around the corner, ideally to a turnout, even at 1 mph.

I'm not expecting the car to do it for me, at this point, or even at level 4. That should be a decision I make, and not the car.

But the argument people keep making is that if people can drive with vision alone, then so should the car. In circumstances where vision is less than ideal it's better to have something to fall back-on like Radar, LiDAR, whatever either as a comingled system like Tesla was doing before, OR just as a second tier system to pickup the slack to help get out of a risky situation where Vision is not enough, but you have "really" no choice but to go forward. Even if that means it's for use by the driver and not FSD.

An example is the IR camera's on Audi, Mercedes, and others. When driving in areas with no moonlight, and no streetlights it shows animals, people, and anything else with certain heat highlighted on the display. In those conditions most people are still going to drive if they say live out in the county. But the IR (or Radar or LiDAR, provides better than "human" vision to aid in driving, this "could" also potentially be leveraged by FSD.

Anyway... just by perspective, not arguing. Tesla is going to do what they want and I'm hear for the ride. If Audi, Mercedes, or whoever has something different that I prefer down the road I can always swap over, or just add another car to the garage.

Cheers everyone.
Well the only realistic thing Tesla would be keeping is radar, and I personally wouldn't trust radar on a foggy day anyways. Sure, it can detect the car it was following, but it does nothing to see where the lane is, so in the end to safely drive, vision is still required.
 
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