MIT has determined that Tesla drivers still maintain a “high degree of functional vigilance” when using Autopilot.
Autopilot is Tesla’s semi-self-driving system that allows its vehicles to drive along with traffic in specific situations. It was even recently updated to enable Tesla to change lanes on the highway without driver input.
The study accounts for 52,0436.1km total and 18,0933.7km under Autopilot control. This means that according to the study drivers drove their Tesla for 34.8 percent of the time with Autopilot.
The study measured “functional vigilance” by determining how drivers react to “Tricky Situations” when Autopilot is engaged. These instances include curved roads, other cars and being to close to a lane wall.
In the case of the study, 7,869 drivers reacted before the Tricky Situation became an issue. A much smaller number of 813 drivers had to correct a situation rapidly, and an even lower number of these rapid corrections were done by the vehicle — just 47.
The researchers point out that these stats don’t feature a substantial enough data set to infer the vehicles’ overall safety, but rather the driver’s general awareness and reliance on Autopilot.
Image Source: MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics