According to a recent Reddit post, Tesla’s new Model S Plaid also adds a couple of infrared LEDs inside the cabin, which many are suspecting may be used for future driver monitoring. The infrared LEDs can be found right above the rear-view mirror inside the cabin, hidden behind a plastic cover.
The Model S Plaid is the first of Tesla’s offerings to include infrared LEDs inside the cabin, but there hasn’t been much talk of the addition. That is probably because of the fact that the LEDs are well concealed. Without taking the enclosure apart, they can only be seen in a video recorded on a camera with a large enough sensor and no infrared filter.
Infrared LEDs would be able to provide the vehicle’s cabin cameras with visibility inside the cabin even in the darkest of lighting conditions, allowing the camera array to monitor the driver day and night.
With Tesla moving from a sensor-based driver monitoring system to a wholly vision-based system, infrared LEDs may go a long way in enabling 24/7 monitoring.
While Tesla Autopilot currently requires drivers to have their hands on the steering wheel at all times and nags them if they take their hands off, the driver monitoring made possible by these infrared LEDs might just be another step toward hands-free Autopilot.
Currently, new Model 3 and Model Y vehicles have Tesla Vision Autopilot, powered only by cameras and no radar. Inside these vehicles, the cabin camera also monitors drivers when Autopilot is engaged. It’s unclear if infrared cameras LEDs may trickle down to these lower-priced vehicles from Tesla.
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