MIT Study Conducted On Distracted Drivers Using Autopilot

By Anthony K

When we talk about Elon Musk, we think of Mars, the Moon, and probably for the dreamers, the Sun? Okay, let’s be honest, Elon has come up with the most efficient self-driving car we all could wish for. We mean, with the right bucks, you have a personal chauffeur! Finally, an invention that saves lives!

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We all know that cars malfunction — manual, automatic, or even the new self-driving models. That’s why  Tesla cars in autopilot mode are not totally autonomous, according to the company’s website, and require active driver monitoring. Autopilot cars can brake, accelerate, and steer themselves. If you think about it, if it’s self-driving, why does it need an active driver alert behind the wheel?

After research was done, the researchers discovered that when people drove with autopilot, they looked at the road less frequently. They added that this didn’t always indicate the drivers were distracted. Maybe showing off? Well, we can all agree young Tesla drivers sometimes go overboard!

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While on autopilot, drivers spent roughly twice as long looking away from the road! And what did they do with those extra ten seconds? These distracted drivers look at the car’s media system and their phones. On autopilot, 22% of the time they spent looking away from the road for more than two seconds, was spent on their phones. Off autopilot, it was only 4%!

Self-driving cars have the potential to save lives and make driving a more enjoyable experience. But until they can prevent Tesla cars from crashing into stopped emergency vehicles, it’s safe to say that they need to work on some of the kinks in the system.