Tesla’s latest FSD (fully self-driving) Autopilot could be available to a large number of drivers shortly, and US safety officials aren’t pleased. According to a new MIT research seen by reports, they have grounds for fear. When employing Tesla’s Autopilot technology, the researchers discovered that drivers become inattentive.
According to the study, visual behavioural patterns shift before and after Autopilot disengagement. In comparison to after the change to manual driving, drivers glanced less on the road and focused more on non-driving related things before disengagement. Longer glances ahead did not compensate for the larger proportion of off-road glances before switching to manual driving. It’s not surprising that when utilizing Autopilot, drivers may not pay as much attention to the road. What’s new is that the researchers were able to see where drivers were looking when the autopilot was turned on versus off.
Off-road glances were downward and toward the centre stack region, indicating that they weren’t probably driving-related. Rather, actions like glancing down at a smartphone or interacting with the center-stack infotainment display are usually linked with looking in those directions. According to the report, these were often longer with Autopilot active and significantly more common than off-road glances in manual driving.
Despite its nomenclature, Tesla’s FSD (full self-driving) Autopilot is only a driver assistance system, not a completely autonomous vehicle. As a result, drivers must maintain their hands on the wheel and remain fully awake, but Tesla does not monitor alertness using cameras or other means.
The most recent version, 10.0.1, is said to make more confident decisions on the road, although it has only been released to a restricted set of beta testers so far. However, Tesla aims to make it more broadly available starting September 24th, and it may be made available to all Autopilot FSD EVs after a seven-day trial that will track owner behaviour.
However, the new publication may pit Tesla against US regulators. Jennifer Homendy, the chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), has stated that Tesla should not deploy the newest software update until it can address fundamental safety issues. She was also annoyed that Tesla was practically beta-testing improvements on public roads.