Background car news

Selfie camera in a car: is it a good idea?

July 31, 2023

More and more brands are doing it

More and more new cars have a camera aimed at occupants in the car. A well-known example, of course, is Tesla’s Cabin Camera, but China’s BYD and NIO also install cameras in the interior that allow filming and photography. Even a car brand like MINI is now changing tack and installing an interior camera in the new generation MINI hatchback. And what about Mercedes-Benz? That brand, too, already has cameras in some models.

Making recordings of ride

With a selfie camera in the interior of a car, it is possible to take pictures on the road, or take shots of a fun moment. The idea is nice: you can share the recordings with loved ones or on social media, should you wish. Is such a camera an invasion of privacy? That remains to be seen. In the past – between 2019 and 2022 – several Tesla employees have privately shared photos and videos of customers’ cars through an internal messaging system, Reuters wrote in April 2023. Some footage showed intimate and embarrassing situations of Tesla customers, sources told Reuters. Tesla has always assured customers that camera recordings remain anonymous.

Added value of interior cameras

By the way, this Reuters story was a one-way street. Tesla never officially responded, the footage was never made public, and furthermore, it was only spoken to former employees. So whether it is true cannot be said with certainty. But it does make you think. After all, what is the added value of an interior camera or selfie camera in the interior of a car? Is it necessary to take photos along the way? Let alone a video? Isn’t it an unnecessary gimmick?

Tesla Cabin Camera

What does the Cabin Camera in a Tesla film?

Tesla has created a special page for the Cabin Camera . Tesla says the following about it. We have bolded the most important sentences. Interesting read if you own a Model 3 or other Tesla.

“Your Model 3 may be equipped with a cabin camera located above the rear view mirror. The cabin camera can determine driver inattentiveness and provide you with audible alerts, to remind you to keep your eyes on the road when Autopilot is engaged. By default, images and video from the camera do not leave the vehicle itself and are not transmitted to anyone, including Tesla, unless you enable data sharing. If you enable data sharing and a safety critical event occurs (such as a collision), Model 3 shares short cabin camera video clips with Tesla to help us develop future safety enhancements and continuously improve the intelligence of features that rely on the cabin camera. Data may also be shared if diagnostics are required on cabin camera functionality. Cabin camera does not perform facial recognition or any other method of identity verification. To protect your privacy, cabin camera data is not associated with your vehicle identification number. To adjust your data sharing preferences touch Controls > Software > Data Sharing > Allow Cabin Camera Analytics. You can change your data sharing settings at any time.”

Face recognition

One camera can film and photograph, while another camera is just used for face recognition. It varies by car. In the Mazda CX-60, for example, you can use the so-called Driver Personalization System. This system recognizes the driver through facial recognition technology and adjusts the ideal seat and steering position accordingly. So this camera is used differently. Not to film or photograph, but purely to scan on departure.

Photo and video function

The main issue in this case is the photo and video function of a camera. The idea behind an in-car camera is nice. Some cars also film outward through the windshield. The car then instantly becomes a dashcam, which can sometimes be very useful for filming certain things, such as an accident. Then you have immediate evidence. But a front-facing camera can also be fun for capturing a fast lap on a track, although the question is whether you wouldn’t be better off installing a professional GoPro camera.


In any case, the latest trend is for car manufacturers to install cameras in the interior that really focus on the interior. Is that a nice development? Or is it something to worry about? You can assume that a manufacturer will not abuse or even access the camera. The latter is especially important because it makes “abuse” impossible. So car manufacturers should communicate especially well that they themselves do not have access to the camera in the car in question. This is necessary to give a customer the confidence that such a camera is really for entertainment purposes only. That is, for personal use and not “to improve the product. If the product is still not good enough, manufacturers simply should not mount such a camera.