Another juicy morsel of information that came out of Tesla's Q2 2022 earnings conference call was related to the automaker's seat belt safety feature, which CEO Elon Musk said is enhanced by Tesla Vision.
When Tesla first announced its new camera and AI-based vision-only advanced driver-assist systems, many were skeptical. In fact, Tesla's vehicles lost their recommendations and safety awards from various organizations. However, after testing the updated Tesla Vision features, it was proven that the approach seems to work as advertised.
At any rate, Elon Musk took a bit of time during the call to describe how Tesla Vision makes the seat belt safety feature so innovative. The CEO actually went so far as to say that Tesla is the first automaker to deploy such a feature. He explained via Teslarati:
“Our safety team also introduced a feature that tensions seat belts if the vision system detects [an] imminent collision, which has never been done before. So, you can imagine that if you have a seat belt that only tensions upon impact, you have very little time to tension the seatbelt.”
Of course, some folks have already argued that other companies currently have similar features, and some, such as Mercedes-Benz, have had related systems for years. However, Tesla is one of the only companies solely relying on a camera-based vision and artificial intelligence system for its safety technologies, so it may be the first to use only cameras and computers to determine whether or not the seat belts should prep for a collision.
Musk went on to add that in other cars, the vehicle has to be in the midst of a collision for the seat belt tensioning system to kick in. He actually said the car "has literally got to be crunching." The CEO noted that the seat belt feature is an advantage only Tesla is currently able to provide with over-the-air software update capability.
Musk shared that Tesla Vision allows that car to determine with 100 percent probability that a collision is imminent, which allows it to tension the seat belts ahead of time, and even adjust airbag deployment. Musk reiterated that Tesla's technology "can see, not just feel.”
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The Seat Belt System Enhancement was rolled out to Tesla's fleet with update 2022.20 in July 2022. Tesla didn't offer such a feature when its cars were relying on radar. Now, all Model 3 and Model Y vehicles produced in North America since May 2021 have Tesla's vision-only Autopilot technology. Newly produced Model S and Model X vehicles on our shores were all switched to the new system this February 2022.
According to Teslarati, Tesla just started moving to Tesla Vision technology in Europe and the Middle East this April 2022. The new system will work its way to vehicles across the globe going forward.