The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has conducted a new study to find out if drivers become inattentive when using partially automated driving systems.
The basic premise of the study is that the safety impact of systems such as autopilot is unknown until there is evidence of how the visual behavior of drivers changes when using automation. The researchers studied the direction and duration of the drivers' gaze.
Scientists found that drivers looked anywhere but at the road longer with the autopilot active than when it was inactive. The team also found that the frequency of distraction from the road to driving activities was lower with autopilot than with manual driving.
Most often and for the longest time, drivers look down or to the center console, while in 22% of cases this lasts more than 2 seconds. The researchers concluded that visual behaviors change with and without autopilot. When autopilot was engaged, drivers looked less at the road and paid more attention to non-driving areas.
Yesterday it became known about another fatal accident involving a Tesla Model 3 car, which was moving in autopilot mode.