A new study provided evidence regarding a problem appearing due to Tesla’s Autopilot – Drivers paying less attention to what’s going on in front of them, relying too much on the car’s self-driving capabilities.
The study focused on the curious situation in the automotive world that we are facing at the moment – There are self-driving cars available. In fact, the technology is so advanced that it can handle numerous real-world situations with better results than those of human drivers but can’t be completely relied on for everything at all times. To put it simply, the technology isn’t advanced enough to completely replace human drivers.
The study found an intriguing aspect of the situation we’re experiencing – A driver being only partly focused on the road ahead, relying on autonomous tech is possibly more dangerous than both fully human driving and/or both fully automated vehicles.
There have even been instances of people sleeping at the wheel of Teslas on Autopilot.
The paper explained that visual behavior patterns change before and after Autopilot is used.
“Before disengagement, drivers looked less on road and focused more on non-driving related areas compared to after the transition to manual driving. The higher proportion of off-road glances before disengagement to manual driving were not compensated by longer glances ahead,” reads the paper.
As advanced as it is, Tesla’s Autopilot is unable to drive a car on its own in *all* scenarios.
However, the company itself never claimed that it can or is meant to do that.
Tesla says that the Autopilot is “designed to assist you with the most burdensome parts of driving” and that its features still “require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”
It’s obvious that we are nearing the age of fully autonomous vehicles, but for the moment, we will have to be patient and still provide input to cars in order not to be dangerous for the surrounding drivers.