Car-mounted cameras are an increasing trend, but most of the time we think of dashboard cameras on police cars, or on private vehicles to record things happening outside of the vehicle, not a camera recording the driver. The new Tesla, however, has exactly that – a small camera recording the driver. What is the point of recording inside the vehicle, and is this something that is going to be a trend in the future?
Why does the Tesla have a driver-facing camera?
Tesla has not officially confirmed the purpose of its driver-facing camera, but the speculation tends to focus on the self-driving features of the Tesla S. The general consensus seems to be that the camera’s primary purpose is to ensure that the driver remains engaged while the car is driving itself, and is paying enough attention to use the manual override if necessary. That means that rather than recording or transmitting data, the camera is probably being used to track head and eye movement.
Will more cars have an in-car camera?
We are extremely likely to see more in-car cameras in the near future, as self-driving cars become common. The speculation surrounding the Tesla makes sense, but more than that, there will be a new hitch in resolving accidents where self-driving cars are involved, where there may be an argument as to whether the driver should have been able to override the self-driving car, or if there was a software error. Driver-facing cameras will go a long way to resolving this sort of argument.
Beyond self-driving cars, though, in-car cameras, like those from http://www.vehicle-accessories.net/Driver-Recording-Systems, are already a staple of many organisations with fleets of vehicles. Driver-facing cameras are used to reduce fraud, keeping employed drivers accountable, and they can also be used to establish that a driver did everything possible to avoid an accident, cutting down on potential losses.
There is concern on all fronts about the potential invasion of privacy, as there are with body-worn cameras or CCTV in other contexts. As usual, however, these cameras provide as much security for the person being recorded as for those doing the recording, and the manpower required to watch random footage precludes widespread surveillance, even if there is recording. That being said, though, if driver-facing cameras become common, we should expect some degree of controversy.