A newly published patent application suggests that Tesla’s upcoming Cybertruck could have facial recognition capabilities. The Cybertruck was first unveiled in 2019, and is currently not expected to hit the market until 2022.
The patent application, meanwhile, was filed in November of 2020, and describes a series of internal cameras and infrared projectors that would allow the Cybertruck to identify the people in the vehicle. The technology would allow the vehicle to store the preferences of registered drivers, and adjust the settings accordingly when they get behind the wheel. For example, the system could automatically direct climate control vents to the driver’s face, or track their eye movements to make sure the mirrors are in the optimal position.
The system could also deliver improved touchscreen utility when someone is in the passenger seat. In that regard, the system could determine whether the driver or the passenger is trying to use the screen, and move icons from one side of the display to the other to make everything more accessible. Owners would need to opt-in to use the facial recognition features, while the biometric data could be encrypted and stored locally on the Cybertruck itself.
In addition to the internal cameras, the Cybertruck could have external sensors that would give drivers a better (on-screen) view of the road ahead. The feature would be particularly useful for those who want to take the truck off-road, since it could highlight any steep or treacherous spots that might not appear on a broader topographical map of the area. By the same token, rear sensors would allow drivers to monitor and wirelessly interact with a trailer being towed.
As is usually the case, it’s not yet clear whether or not the features described in the patent will appear in the finished version of the product. However, Tesla would not be the first car company to use facial recognition to deliver a more personalized driving experience. The Subaru Forrester used facial recognition in its Driver Assist feature to make driving safer, while the Cerence Pay platform uses it to enable biometric authentication for in-car payments.