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In May of 2016, Tesla asked Model S and Model X to approve a new data sharing policy that would allow the company to collect video data from the Autopilot cameras on their cars. Now, Tesla is implementing a similar policy with Model 3.
The company will be collecting two types of data: location and video. Tesla’s request for data stated that the company was working “to improve autonomous safety features” and “make self-driving a reality” as soon as possible.
No sensitive information collected
The company informed owners that the firm will now be using the Autopilot cameras of Model 3 and gave owners the option to opt out of the program. The company explained that drivers would not be risking sharing any sensitive information should they choose to agree to the data request, a smart move considering recent worries about private data brought on by Facebook.
Tesla’s full request for data collection reads as follows:
We are working hard to improve autonomous safety features and make self-driving a reality for you as soon as possible.
In order to do so, we need to collect short video clips using the car’s external cameras to learn how to recognize things like lane lines, street signs, and traffic light positions. The more fleet learning of road conditions we are able to do, the better your Tesla’s self-driving ability will become.
We want to be super clear that these short video clips are not linked to your vehicle identification number. In order to protect your privacy, we have ensured that there is no way to search our system for clips that are associated with a specific car.
Do you agree to allow us to collect these clips? You can change your mind later at any time.
In order for these features to work, Tesla measures the road segment data of all participating vehicles but in a way that does not identify you or your car, and may share that with partners that contribute similar data to help us provide the service. At no point is any personally identifiable information collected or shared during this process.
Do you agree to allow us to collect this data? You can change your mind later at any time.
Tesla Vision Autopilot
Tesla’s Autopilot consists of a vision processing technology called Tesla Vision that uses pictures from the vehicle’s cameras to navigate it with assistance from GPS and radar data. With the new data Tesla is collecting from all its vehicles, the company is creating high-precision maps that will allow the download of location-based tiles used for the improvement of autonomous steering.
Tesla's website describes Autopilot as a system that provides drivers with capabilities such as matching their speed to traffic conditions, keeping within a lane and self-parking. The website also states that it is a driver's responsibility to stay alert and take appropriate actions even when using Autopilot.