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Tesla Autopilot Leads To Reduced Driver Focus When In Use, Says Study

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) autopilot, when enabled, results in a noticeable reduction in driver attention, Electrek reported on Monday, citing a study based on MIT Advanced Vehicle Technology data.

What Happened: A group of MIT researchers has used data from the study to publish another study that reveals drivers tend to look at things non-related to driving more often and for longer periods of time when Autopilot is activated.

The original study involved recording Autopilot drives of Model S and Model X owners over nearly 500,000 miles and tried to find out how drivers interact with the automated driver-assist features under Tesla’s Autopilot package.  

As per the study, drivers would look more at the center screen when Autopilot is engaged and look more at the road after disengaging Autopilot.

See Also: Why Gene Munster Says Tesla Autopilot Safety Concerns Are Unfounded

“Visual behavior patterns change before and after AP disengagement,” the study said. “Before disengagement, drivers looked less on the road and focused more on non-driving related areas compared to after the transition to manual driving.”

Why It Matters: Tesla discloses safety reports on a quarterly basis. As per the Elon Musk-led company, Tesla vehicles with Autopilot engaged have “close to 10x lower chances of being involved in an accident than the average car.” 

Critics have disputed the data, saying most of those Autopilot features are tested for highway driving while accidents are more common on city roads.

Price Action: Tesla shares closed 0.91% higher at $743 on Monday.

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