Tesla vehicles keep getting smarter over time with the help of free over-the-air (OTA) software updates. A new and interesting feature has just started rolling out to Tesla cars in Europe that warns drivers if they are inattentive or drowsy.
A Tesla vehicle monitors a driver’s eye movement and signals from the steering wheel to calculate the driver’s attentiveness. If the system thinks the driver is not paying attention or is drowsy, it will generate an audio-visual warning to get back driver’s attention to driving.
Information about the Driver Drowsiness Warning feature has been added to the new Tesla Model 3 Highland Owner’s Manual for Europe. According to the manual, this warning is only triggered when a Tesla vehicle is going over 65 km/h (~40 mph) when driven for a minimum of 10 minutes and Autopilot is not engaged.
Tesla is rolling out this feature with the latest software update, version 2023.31.600. This new OTA update seemingly is specific to the new Model 3 Highland cars in Europe.
I checked the Model 3 Highland Owner’s Manuals for the Middle East and China. Tesla did not add the information for the Driver Drowsiness Warning feature for these countries. Tesla is perhaps testing it on a limited scale first on the latest model cars and then the feature will transition to older cars and expand to other regions.
The Owner’s Manual describes the feature as follows:
“Driver Drowsiness Warning is designed to notify drivers who appear to be drowsy. Driver Drowsiness Warning monitors driver attentiveness as well as driving behavior to determine patterns indicative of drowsiness. When driver drowsiness is detected, an alert is displayed on the touchscreen in the cards area and an alert is sounded.
“When enabled, the Driver Drowsiness Warning systems activates over 65 km/h when driven for a minimum of 10 minutes and Autopilot is not engaged.
“Note: This active safety feature utilizes cabin camera to monitor driver attentiveness. Cabin camera does not perform facial recognition or any other method of identity verification. By default, images and video from the camera do not leave the vehicle itself and are not transmitted to anyone, including Tesla, unless you enable data sharing. To adjust your data sharing preferences touch Controls > Software > Data Sharing > Allow Cabin Camera Analytics. You can change your data sharing settings at any time.”
Tesla Model 3 Highland Owner’s Manual (Europe) / Full feature details below.
Tesla software update 2023.21.600 has also rolled out on a limited scale. Tesla software tracking website TeslaFi.com does not show any contributing users having this update on their Tesla vehicle as of this writing.
A Tesla Model 3 Highland owner from Europe shared the following screenshot of the Driver Drowsiness Warning feature. He bought his new Tesla Model 3 just a couple of weeks ago. The owner was driving his car for around 3 hours in dark and rainy conditions. The Tesla system probably calculated all the factors and triggered this warning.
Surprised no one has asked this yet. Were you drowsy? Was it accurate?
— John Kraus (@johnkrausphotos) October 31, 2023
Development of the Driver Drowsiness Warning Feature
Tesla originally designed this feature for Autopilot to assist in detecting if the driver is paying attention or not. Now Tesla is rolling it out as a safety feature for owners who did not purchase the Autopilot Full Self-Driving package.
In 2021, Tesla ethical hacker “green” shared the video clips recorded by a Tesla vehicle’s cabin camera. This provided a vision of how this in-cabin camera works and how it’s angled to monitor the driver and passengers (in the future it will be used for Robotaxis).
Earlier this year, “green” revealed that Tesla is working on a feature that will be able to calculate driver attentiveness. “Looks like Tesla is planning a big boost to (camera-based) driver monitoring,” green posted on X (Twitter).
“They are now tracking additional things like how many yawns the driver had recently, how many blinks and how long they were, leaning. All this is to calculate how drowsy the driver is,” he further explained the in-development driver monitoring system.
Looks like Tesla is planning a big boost to (camera based) driver monitoring.
They are now tracking additional things like how many yawns the driver had recently, how many blinks and how long they were, leaning. All this is to calculate how drowsy the driver is.
— green (@greentheonly) May 13, 2023
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