Tesla is now starting to detect Autopilot cheating devices that enable you not to hold the steering wheel, and it is acting on it if you use it.
In order to use Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta, Tesla requires drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel.
However, Tesla is not equipped to detect hands on the steering wheel. It can only detect torque being apply to it, so the automaker regularly asks drivers to apply some torque to the wheel in order to keep using Autopilot.
It pushed some people to use what has been called “defeat devices.” It can be as simple as jamming a water bottle in the steering wheel to apply some pressure to some custom-made devices to trick Autopilot’s driver monitoring system.
NHTSA even had to intervene and ban devices that were clearly marketed for that purpose.
One of those Autopilot defeat devices tried to come back as a phone mount, but it was shut down again.
Now Tesla is trying to address the issue through software directly.
Teslascope, which digs into Tesla software updates, found something interesting in the latest FSD Beta update. Tesla can now detect Autopilot defeat devices, and it forces drivers off Autopilot if detected:
This is an interesting new approach to the problem as Tesla’s FSD Beta is getting into a wider release to anyone who bought the FSD package in North America.
With the technology still in beta and undoubtedly dangerous if drivers are not paying attention, Tesla is trying to find ways to try to make sure drivers are really putting their hands on the wheel and ready to take control at all times.
Tesla has also been increasingly using its cabin-facing camera to monitor driver attention, and it has been known to send driver warnings when their gaze is not on the road.