Your Tesla is now using data from its on-board cameras to automatically tighten your seatbelts in more instances moments before a crash. The added level of safety, which improves on Tesla’s industry-leading safety record, was added for free through an over-the-air (OTA) software update.
Until now your seatbelts would automatically tighten using pre-tensioners, but only when the airbags were deployed. In the owner’s manual, Tesla says this system reduces the slack in the seatbelt, better protecting occupants by limiting their forward motion in a crash.
“The pre‑tensioners automatically retract both the seat belt anchor and the seat belt webbing, reducing slack in both the lap and diagonal portions of the belts, resulting in reduced forward movement of the occupant.”
While this system obviously provides a superior level of protection compared to vehicles without it, Tesla is not content to rest on its laurels. With the 2022.20 software update released over the weekend, data from the vehicle’s on-board cameras is now also used to improve the performance of the seatbelt pretensioners.
With the addition of data from the cameras, the pretensioners now activate in a wider variety of crashes. Tesla describes the ‘Seat Belt System Enhancement’ in the release notes by saying it delivers “the most cutting edge seatbelt pretensioner performance in the event of a frontal crash.”
“Your seat belts will now begin to tighten and protect properly restrained occupants earlier in a wider array of frontal crashes.”
This is one of those features that will go unnoticed by most people, and hopefully unused by even more, but it shows Tesla’s dedication towards making their vehicles the safest on the road.
By all accounts, Tesla has already reached that standard. All four of their vehicles, the Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y have achieved perfect 5.0 safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
According to the NHTSA, the Model Y has the lowest rollover risk (7.9%) of any SUV they have ever tested. Similarly, the Model 3 was found to have the lowest probability of injury in a collision of any of the over 900 cars the agency has tested.