Tesla cars already monitor the driver to make sure they’re paying attention to the road ahead and not staring at a smartphone, but things are about to get a bit more intense because the Austin-based company’s EVs will start monitoring the driver for drowsiness, according to a report from Electrek, quoting the European user manuals of Tesla vehicles.
Dubbed “Driver Drowsiness Warning,” the feature does exactly what it says. Using the cabin-facing camera fitted above the rear-view mirror, the car counts how often the driver yawns or blinks and issues a warning on the central touchscreen and an audible alert.
According to the Elon Musk-led EV maker, the feature is automatically activated when driving over 65 kilometers per hour (40 miles per hour) for at least 10 minutes without Autopilot being engaged. This is a bit concerning, seeing how one might take their eyes off the road when the driving assistance system is engaged, but it’s worth noting that Tesla has been monitoring drivers to see if they’re looking ahead from 2021.
It’s also worth mentioning that Tesla is likely implementing this new warning system in Europe first because it has no choice, as the European Union passed a law a few years ago that says all new passenger and lightweight cargo vehicles sold there from July 7, 2024, must be equipped with something called driver drowsiness and attention warning (DDAW).
The same law says that a new version of a previously available model needs to have this sort of system in place if it is sold after July 6, 2022. Factor in the fact that European deliveries of the facelifted Model 3 “Highland” EV are scheduled for this month, and it all makes sense.
With this being said, Tesla’s Driver Drowsiness Warning can be disabled by the driver but only for the current drive cycle, meaning that it automatically re-enables when a new journey starts.