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Tesla FSD 12.4.1 Update: Camera Replaces Steering Wheel Monitoring System

Tesla FSD 12.4.1 Update: Camera Replaces Steering Wheel Monitoring System

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On June 8, 2024, Tesla announced the rollout of its latest Full Self-Driving (FSD) software, version 12.4.1, to external owners, with the system version numbered 2024.15.5. This significant update marks a crucial step for Tesla in driver monitoring systems, transitioning from the traditional steering wheel torque monitoring system to using interior cameras to monitor the driver's attention.

The new system leverages neural network-based technology to analyze behaviors such as whether the driver’s eyes are open, the direction of their gaze, and if they are using their phone, ensuring the driver remains focused while in autopilot mode. This change not only enhances driving safety but also improves the user experience by allowing the system to accurately assess driver attention even when their hands are off the steering wheel.

Tesla 2024.15.5 Software Update Release Notes


System Upgrade Details

The system version is 2024.15.5, and it will be pushed to owners through a software update.

When the interior camera cannot determine if the driver is paying attention, Tesla will still utilize steering wheel monitoring and alert functions. For instance, warnings may occur if the camera is subject to glare, the driver wears sunglasses or a low-brim hat, or during nighttime driving (for older models without infrared support). Multiple consecutive warnings will result in exiting the assisted driving mode (after accumulating 5 penalties, the system will be forcibly disabled for a week; if driving performance is good, one penalty can be offset every 7 days).

Tesla has added a green indicator light on the touchscreen to display the camera monitoring status, providing intuitive feedback on the driver monitoring system's operation.


Images from the interior camera will not leave the vehicle unless the user enables the data-sharing function.


Strictly speaking, the interior camera can capture more information, such as the driver's eye and head movements, to more accurately assess whether the driver is paying attention.

This means that even with hands off the steering wheel, Tesla can ensure the driver remains focused, significantly enhancing driving safety. Previously, Tesla owners had to keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times. In the past, some "clever owners" would place a water bottle on the steering wheel to keep Autopilot on for extended periods to achieve "automatic driving."

However, this bug was fixed as early as 2022, leading to users needing to keep their hands on the wheel continuously, which could severely impact the driving experience for some users.

Elon Musk's Perspective

Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated that (Tesla) expects to significantly improve the level of refinement with each update release. He also mentioned that FSD V12.4 will bring together the disparate FSD and non-FSD branches, and that FSD 12.4 has improved takeover rates by a factor of 5-10 compared to 12.3. In addition, there are "a lot of changes" in this release, which he believes should be called FSD v13.

A few days ago, Musk also mentioned that with continuous improvements in future FSD versions, "once known issues are resolved, owners might not need to manually take over even once in a year." He previously noted that the Smart Summon and Auto Park features would be released with version 12.4. Although these features were not explicitly mentioned in this update's notes, they are expected to roll out in subsequent updates of V12.4.X.


The update to FSD version 12.4.1 indeed reflects Tesla's emphasis on safety and its cautious approach to autonomous driving technology. While the new system still has some shortcomings, it generally offers more benefits than drawbacks. With ongoing technological advancements, Tesla's autonomous driving system will continue to improve, providing Tesla owners with a safer and more convenient travel experience.

A final suggestion for Tesla owners: when using the Autopilot feature, maintain good driving habits by keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the steering wheel. Avoid distractions like using your phone or eating. Additionally, in poor lighting conditions or when wearing sunglasses, be extra vigilant about road conditions and be prepared to take control of the vehicle to prevent accidents due to system misjudgment. If you experience frequent misjudgments by the system, use the feedback channels to report these issues to Tesla, helping them improve the algorithms and enhance system performance.


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