Tesla launches new ‘Driver Drowsiness Warning’ system to improve road safety

Tesla has launched a new driver monitoring system that monitors not only driving behavior but also driver facial characteristics to detect signs of drowsiness, keeping you and others on the road around you safer during long drives.

We first learned about this feature back in May when hacker @greentheonly discovered references in the source code of a software update that Tesla was soon going to use its camera-based driver monitoring system to watch the driver for drowsiness.

Five months later and the new ‘Driver Drowsiness Warning’ feature has appeared in the Model 3 owner’s manual in the United Kingdom, which says it is included in 2023.32. However even though this software version is available in North America, we haven’t been able to find reference to it in the Canadian or US versions the manual. (h/t: @Tesla_App_iOS)

According to the manual the advanced safety feature that takes a multifaceted approach to keeping drivers alert and safe while on the road. Tesla says the system uses the cabin camera to continuously monitor a driver’s face, as well as their driving patterns to identify any signs of drowsiness. When the systems detects an issue, an audible alert is played and a visual alert appears on the screen, ensuring that the driver is aware of the potential danger.

Once the alert appears, it will only be removed from the screen once the system detects the patterns of drowsiness, both visually and from driving patterns, are no longer present.

The system only works at speeds above 65km/h (40mph), and only after driving for 10 minutes. Additionally, the warning system only works when the vehicle is being driven manually and not when Autopilot is engaged.

Interestingly owners can also disable the feature by navigating to Controls > Safety > Driver Drowsiness Warning. However disabling it only turns it off for the current drive and it will automatically be reenabled at the start of the next drive.

The manual does appear to include a graphic of what the alert looks like, but it is currently not working, except for text which shows the message says “Driver drowsiness detected. Take a break.” However @greentheonly has already uncovered the image from the source code of the update.

drowsiness alert
Credit: Tesla
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