June 16, 2024

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Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

In a new update to its full self-driving (FSD) mode, Tesla is reportedly removing what its drivers call “steering wheel nag.”  

The feature, which alerts Tesla drivers to apply pressure to their steering wheel to confirm they are paying attention, is being replaced by enhanced camera-based driver monitoring, Benzinga reported. According to Tesla’s release notes shared by Not A Tesla App, the new system will use in-vehicle cameras to monitor driver attentiveness, as long as their eyes are visible and uncovered by sunglasses or other objects. If the camera detects a driver is not paying attention, the car will issue a warning that the driver can dismiss. (And if a driver’s eyes are covered or can’t be detected, the system will revert back to the steering wheel alert.) The company added in the note that images from the camera cannot be saved or transmitted unless the driver enables data sharing.

The feature removal is meant to improve the driving experience and safety. Tesla is expected to update more cars in its fleet this week, Benzinga reported. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk called the v12.4 update “mind-blowing,” and also said it should add a five to 10 times improvement in miles per intervention, Electrek reported.

The electric-vehicle company is reportedly planning to build a data center in China, which would train its algorithm and therefore improve its autonomous driving efforts. Tesla has stored driving data from its Chinese fleet since 2021, as is required by Chinese regulators. Last month, Tesla’s plan to deploy full FSD using Chinese tech company Baidu’s navigation and mapping services, was tentatively approved by Chinese authorities.

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