Tesla to Push New Dashcam Feature in Software Update

Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla owners will soon be able to use their Autopilot cameras as dashcams.

byRob Stumpf|
Tesla to Push New Dashcam Feature in Software Update

One of Tesla's greatest selling points is its connectivity, which enables Over-The-Air (OTA) updates from the company's headquarters in Palo Alto, California to anywhere in the world. In its latest round of updates, CEO Elon Musk confirms, will include a feature to enable the use of the Autopilot cameras as dashboard cameras.

Responding to a Tweet which displayed a photo of a Model 3 with a keyed hood, Musk mentioned that the latest iteration of its Autopilot software, version 9, would have the coveted feature baked in. Albeit, he later mentions, that the dashcam functionality will be a beta feature until a future update when more testing can be had.

Autopilot software update v9 had originally been planned for release by the first week of September, according to the quarterly investor's call in early August, however, it has not yet been slated with a hard release date. In addition to the dashcam feature, v9 is said to include several other welcomed updates, including some more advanced semi-autonomous driving functions, such as the company's "on-ramp to off-ramp" solution.

The software will make use of the Autopilot cameras already equipped on existing cars. As shown below, Tesla has already provided an example of what the Autopilot cameras see when a vehicle is in motion.

We've also seen examples of individuals retrieving footage from salvaged Teslas in the past, meaning that this opportunity has remained untapped for some time. This does open up questions of how well the cameras will produce footage in varying light conditions, as well as the resolution and quality of the video itself across vehicles, as Tesla has upgraded its cameras several times since the Model S first released in 2012. It is also unknown how many of the onboard cameras will be utilized for this functionality. Video can take a lot of room to store on a traditional dashboard camera, and some cars like the Model 3 have up to eight cameras onboard.

The good news is that owners will at least have a connected fallback should something happen to their vehicles. No more worrying about what might happen if their dash cams are stolen during a vehicle break-in, or if they accidentally unplug the power before they begin driving. At the very least, this will at least provide opportunities for some more quality dash cam entertainment to hit the interwebs.