Elon Musk revealed how a tiny internal camera in Tesla vehicles is going to help the firm compete with Uber and Lyft

  • Elon Musk tweeted on Thursday about the purpose of tiny cameras that perch just above the rear-view mirror in Tesla vehicles.
  • Musk says the cameras are there for when Tesla realises its ambitions to break into the autonomous vehicle ride-sharing market.
  • Tesla is holding an investor day showcasing its self-driving tech later this month.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Elon Musk has revealed the purpose of a tiny camera just above the rear-view mirror in Tesla vehicles.

A Tesla enthusiast’s account first posted about the camera, irked by not knowing the purpose of its inclusion in Tesla cars. A video shows the enthusiast closing the camera’s cap.

Musk replied to the tweet, saying that the company is planning to put it to use once it launches its own fleet of autonomous vehicles to compete with the likes of Uber and Lyft, who are both developing their own autonomous vehicle technology with the hope of someday making driverless cars part of their business.

Read more: Tesla is plunging after first-quarter deliveries came up short

Specifically he said Tesla owners will be able to allow their car to act as part of an autonomous vehicle fleet thereby earning them some extra cash, and the camera will be a security measure in case a passenger “messes up” the car.

He added that the camera is not in use right now. “Only external cameras are being used right now, so internal is not enabled. When it is enabled, we’ll add a setting to disable internal camera,” he said on Twitter.

Musk made clear his ambitions to break into self-driving ridesharing as far back as 2016, and on Wednesday the company announced it will be holding an investor day about its work on autonomous vehicles later this month.

Some have criticised Musk for being overly enthusiastic about self-driving tech. AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson said the way Musk bigs up the technology is “almost unethical,” and a senior analyst for Navigant told Business Insider in February that Musk’s overselling of Teslas vehicles’ autonomous capabilities was putting customers at risk.

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