Tesla has introduced a new feature aimed to improve road safety. This feature is known as the “Driver Drowsiness Warning.”

This new addition uses the car’s cabin-facing camera, originally designed to ensure driver attentiveness, to detect signs of drowsiness.

How it works

The Driver Drowsiness Warning system analyzes both the driver’s facial features and driving behavior to determine signs of fatigue. The system analyzes facial features by counting the number of times that drivers yawn and blink over a particular time frame. If this number is too high, Tesla concludes that the driver is tired.

If the driver is tired, the system promptly displays an alert on the car’s touchscreen, accompanied by an internal alarm. These visual and auditory alerts aim to keep drivers alert, especially during long journeys or monotonous highway driving.

To prevent false alerts, Tesla has specific activation criteria for the Driver Drowsiness Warning. The feature becomes active when the vehicle’s speed exceeds 40 miles per hour (65 km/h) and Autopilot is not engaged. If the vehicle falls below this speed threshold, the warning system automatically deactivates.

It’s crucial for drivers to understand that they hold the primary responsibility to remain alert and focused while driving. The Driver Drowsiness Warning serves as an additional layer of security, not a substitute for driver diligence.

Privacy concerns

Tesla realizes that many drivers will consider the system intrusive and unnecessary. As a result, the company has provided an option for drivers to disable the system. By navigating to the car’s control settings and selecting “Safety,” drivers can turn off the Driver Drowsiness Warning system.

However, the system will reactivate during each new drive unless manually disabled again.

Tesla must diligently ensure that the new driver drowsiness system is not abused in order to prevent further damage to its reputation. A September study by Mozilla concluded that Tesla is the worst automaker for protecting customer data.

The feature’s rollout 

According to Tech Times, the European owner’s manual for the Model 3 already discusses the Driver Drowsiness Warning system. In the manual’s “Active Safety Features” section, Tesla says that it created the feature to “determine patterns indicative of drowsiness.”

Curiously, the feature is not included in Tesla’s US manual for the Model 3. Nevertheless, it’s probable that Tesla will gradually introduce the feature to the North American market too.

Tesla is not the first automaker to analyze driver attentiveness with technology. For instance, Mercedes-Benz introduced the Attention Assist feature all the way back in 2009. Additionally, BMW and General Motors currently leverage in-car cameras to analyze driver attentiveness and take action if needed.

Image Source: TeslaNorth.com, https://shorturl.at/bEV19