Elon Musk reveals purpose of Tesla Model 3’s mysterious camera

The Tesla Model 3 has a mysterious camera located above its rear-view mirror, and while it remains inactive, it was not until now that its purpose was revealed.

Twitter account LivingTesla called out Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk over the unexplained camera. Musk responded to the tweet, finally ending all speculation.

The Tesla shared autonomy fleet that Musk referred to is a ride-sharing service that will utilize the company’s electric vehicles and their built-in Autopilot systems. Owners will be able to earn additional income by allowing their self-driving Teslas to transport passengers. This may sound like stuff of legend, but according to Musk, the technology is actually on its way.

Tesla owners will apparently not need an upgrade to add their electric vehicles to the company’s ride-sharing fleet, with a camera already in place to monitor the behavior of passengers. Musk added in another tweet that once internal cameras of Tesla vehicles are enabled, a setting will be added for deactivating them.

There was speculation that the mysterious camera would be part of an attention-based monitoring system for Autopilot, to make sure that drivers will still have their attention on the road despite activating the self-driving feature. This has now been debunked, though Musk added that the internal camera may be used to supplement the external cameras as they can see through the second side windows and rear windows, possibly as an extension to Tesla’s Sentry Mode.

Tesla introduced Sentry Mode in February as a security feature that utilizes the external cameras of its vehicles for protection. In addition to monitoring ride-sharing passengers, the camera above the Model 3’s rear-view mirror may also be utilized as new “security guards” under Sentry Mode in a future update. Sentry Mode was launched alongside Dog Mode, which allows owners to safely leave their dogs in their vehicles.

The latest Autopilot update released by Tesla allows its electric vehicles to change lanes on their own, without requiring the driver’s permission. The update builds on an earlier feature that informs drivers when the car should change lanes, but waited for confirmation before making the maneuver.

Emerging Tech

NASA announces satellite projects to study the Sun using solar sailing

Small satellites can be used for all sorts of purposes, and NASA has been searching for ideas to push ahead the capabilities of the hardware. The agency has announced two new projects to demonstrate the potential of small satellites.
Home Theater

The original Mac design team reimagines Apple’s AirPods. Would you wear them?

Most people would agree that if you were intent on redesigning Apple's mega-popular AirPods, you wouldn't make them look more controversial. And yet that's what the team at Frog Design has done — with a purpose.

Can big rebates lure Tesla owners into Jaguar’s segment-bending I-Pace?

Jaguar wants Tesla owners to step into its stores and drive home in an I-Pace, its first and only electric car. The company is offering motorists who can prove there is a Tesla in their household a $3,000 rebate.

This woman implanted her Tesla key into her arm

Software engineer Amie DD took the car-shaped key fob that Tesla gives owners to unlock their vehicle, and implanted part of it in her arm, which allows her to open her Tesla with her body rather than a traditional key.

2020 Honda Civic hatchback keeps the manual-transmission faith

The 2020 Honda Civic hatchback was treated to a subtle exterior facelift. Honda also expanded the availability of both the manual transmission and 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

2019 Audi E-Tron is the first electric car to earn top IIHS safety rating

The 2019 Audi E-Tron is the first electric car to earn an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating. But the IIHS hasn't tested the Audi's two main rivals -- the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X.

UPS partners with TuSimple to test self-driving semi-trucks

UPS has been carrying truckloads of goods in self-driving semi-trucks since May. The vehicles are being tested in Arizona routes between Phoenix and Tucson for better service and efficiency for UPS delivery.

Vintage Electric readies the Roadster Speed Merchant, a souped-up ebike

Vintage Electric introduced the latest in its line of retro-styled premium performance ebikes for fall 2019. The Vintage Roadster gets styling cues from board track racing motorcycles and its power from a 1,123-watt battery.

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are some of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.

Infiniti’s Formula One-inspired Project Black S may enter production

The Infiniti Project Black S is a Q60 luxury coupe enhanced with a Formula One-inspired hybrid powertrain. The 563-horsepower car can sprint from zero to 62 mph in under four seconds, according to Infiniti.

Toyota raises the curtain on 2020 Corolla Nightshade Editions

The 2020 Toyota Corolla SE sedan and hatchback with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) will be available in Nightshade Editions, joining the Toyota 4Runner, Camry, Highlander, and Sienna with the blacked-out trim style option.

Here’s why your Uber or Lyft car always seems to be a Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry is one of the most popular cars sold in the United States, and not just with retail buyers. Uber and Lyft drivers love the Camry for its reliability, according to a new report.

The electric Volkswagen ID Buggy makes even Ferrari drivers stop and stare

Volkswagen traveled to the 2019 Geneva Auto Show to introduce an electric dune buggy named ID Buggy, and Digital Trends drove it in California. It's a modern-day tribute to the 1960s Meyers Manx.

Infiniti will take on BMW and Mercedes-Benz with its own crossover coupe

Launching in 2020, the Infiniti QX55 will be a crossover coupe similar to models that have proven successful for BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Infiniti said the QX55 will have styling influenced by its early 2000s FX.