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Hacker reveals Tesla is tracking driver behavior to measure drowsiness

Tesla will now analyze driver behavior to measure drowsiness, even when Autopilot and Full Self-Driving are disengaged

Tesla will now analyze driver behavior to measure drowsiness, even when assistance software such as Autopilot and the Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta are disengaged.

The safety feature was discovered, rather than announced, by hacker @greentheonly, who frequently exposes hidden elements in the electric vehicle brand’s software updates. According to his May 13 Twitter post, Tesla vehicles now track the number of times a driver blinks or yawns using interior cameras above the dashboard. While the automaker already monitors attentiveness and other driver behaviors when Autopilot or FSD are active, the new function operates at all times.

During its quarterly earnings call, Tesla revealed it was looking to supplant income from its recently discounted EVs with more subscription revenue, primarily from its driver-assistance packages. Earlier this year, the automaker merged its Autopilot and FSD platforms to expand utilization. However, neither package qualifies above a Level 2 system, placing them well behind the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) standards for driverless vehicle classification. Although the brand indicated it could reach full autonomy later this year, the new safety feature suggests a release could be further off, as higher-class systems have little need for monitoring driver behavior.

Tesla has also faced criticism in the past for both failing to implement safety features that ensure attentiveness when driver assistance is engaged and using questionable terminology to promote its software products. The NHTSA has multiple open investigations into accidents allegedly involving the use of the automaker’s self-driving packages, while states such as California have forced the company to stop using the phrase “full self-driving” in its marketing. This new ways of tracking driver behavior could be a preventative measure to avoid further litigation: if so, similar updates are likely to arrive in the coming months.

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Colin Velez
Colin Velez
Colin Velez is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. After obtaining his bachelor’s in Communication from Kennesaw State University in 2018, he kicked off his writing career by developing marketing and public relations material for various industries, including travel and fashion. Throughout the next four years, he developed a love for working with journalists and other content creators, and his passion eventually led him to his current position. Today, Colin writes news content and coordinates stories with auto-industry insiders and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S.

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