Tesla Introduces Driver Drowsiness Warning, Sparking Debate on User Privacy and Utility

Tesla, the electric vehicle giant, has rolled out a new feature called “Driver Drowsiness Warning” aimed at enhancing road safety. The feature leverages the in-cabin cameras that Tesla began installing in 2021 to monitor drivers for signs of drowsiness.

When activated, the system will alert drivers with a visual and auditory warning if it detects signs of drowsiness. The feature kicks in when the car is traveling over 40 mph for at least 10 minutes with Autopilot disengaged.

How It Works

The warning system uses facial recognition and driving behavior to determine patterns indicative of drowsiness. If detected, an alert is displayed on the touchscreen in the cards area, and an alert sound is emitted.

Users have the option to disable the feature by navigating to Controls > Safety > Driver Drowsiness Warning.

However, the system re-enables itself each time the car is started, making it essentially a permanent feature.

Mixed Reactions

The feature has been met with mixed reviews from Tesla owners. Some users on the Tesla subreddit have expressed concerns that the system could be more irritating than helpful, especially for those who have early morning commutes.

Others have questioned Tesla’s priorities, suggesting that the company should focus on improving existing features like automatic windshield wipers and Full Self-Driving (FSD) capabilities.

Privacy Concerns

Another point of contention is the use of in-cabin cameras for monitoring, which some users find invasive. While Tesla states that the recordings don’t leave the vehicle unless the user opts into data sharing, skepticism remains due to past instances of Tesla sharing images and videos taken from customers’ cameras.

How It Affects Drivers

The introduction of this feature could have broader implications. For instance, insurance companies might consider the presence of such safety features when determining premiums. On the flip side, the constant monitoring could raise serious questions about data privacy and how the collected information might be used or misused in the future.

Not a First

Tesla is not the first automaker to experiment with driver alertness technology. Mercedes-Benz has had a similar feature called “Attention Assist” for almost a decade.

For more details, read the full report on Electrek.co

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