Tesla CEO Elon Musk has taken to explain the purpose behind the camera that is located on Model 3’s rear-view mirror. Musk said on the microblogging website that the camera is placed there because it will be useful when Tesla Model 3 will be able to work as an autonomous taxi.
In response to a query on Twitter regarding privacy concerns because of the camera, Musk said, “It’s there for when we start competing with Uber/Lyft. In case someone messes up your car, you can check the video.” In addition to this, the camera will also be able to augment Model 3’s Sentry Mode in order to keep an eye on pets and thieves.
It was in 2016 that Musk spoke about his plan to form an autonomous ride-sharing fleet with Tesla cars when he released the company’s ‘Master Plan, Part Deux.’ The CEO also said that those who own Tesla cars will be able to make money by renting out their electric vehicles for autonomous ride-sharing. With this, he hopes that the car’s cost of ownership will go down “dramatically to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla.”
It’s there for when we start competing with Uber/Lyft & people allow their car to earn money for them as part of the Tesla shared autonomy fleet. In case someone messes up your car, you can check the video.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 5, 2019
The CEO also sent out a follow-up tweet confirming that the hardware that will let people to rent out cars like this is already present in vehicles that are being produced by Tesla today, adding that it is “just a matter of finishing the software & going through regulatory approval.” Last year in May, Musk said that Tesla is currently working on the functionality, which will be a mix of “Uber, Lyft and Airbnb“, and it will be fully ready by end of 2019.
Musk has said that when the company enables the functionality, the cars will also get an option to disable the internal camera. And till then, the camera will remain turned off permanently.
The camera will obviously be useful for keeping an eye on passengers when people rent their cars out and other than this, Musk has also said that it could be “used to supplement cameras on outside of vehicle, as it can see through 2nd side windows and rear window.”
Since the feature would be able to record thieves during a break-in, it will also enhance the function of the Sentry Mode. Musk also highlighted this in his follow-up tweet saying, “Sentry Mode is barely at V1.0. Will improve a lot in coming months.”
Considering that the functionality will have to be approved by regulators, we can assume that it may take longer for it to be released because Tesla may be able to meet the deadline, but regulations can take time. Tesla CEO Elon Musk will be seen providing more details about the new functionality on a live webcast on April 22.