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Tesla Motors Autopilot Study On Drivers’ Interaction By MIT AgeLab

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MIT AgeLab continues its Autopilot study to prove that it is safer than a human driver

Earlier this year, MIT AgeLab was seen recruiting owners of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) to participate on a study based on driver interaction with the Autopilot features. The research aimed to show that autonomous driving assist features are safer than a human driver.

Electrek (via TMC) reported the details of the on-going study during the past weekend along with a presentation. MIT AgeLab Postdoctoral Associate, Lex Fridman, conducted the research by putting a camera facing towards the driver and screens in Tesla cars with Autopilot to study their interaction with the system.

The cameras can detect driver’s gazes and logging in any interaction with center touchscreen or steering wheel, including detecting when the Autopilot is engaged. The group managed to log the events without requiring to monitor the drivers, by synchronizing all the camera feeds through an image processing system, the publication noted.

MIT AgeLab has collected data of 1,000 hours on more than 30,000 miles using nine Tesla cars. During the presentation, Mr. Fridman said that he intends to support Tesla’s claim that the Autopilot is safer than a human driving using more data than currently held by Tesla.

Up till now, the firm has found that the Autopilot’s traffic fatality rate is one per 130 million miles since October 2015, compared to one per 90 million miles of manual driving since October 2014. While it understands why accidents so frequently take place with manual driving, the group still requires understanding why fatality rate of Autopilot is lower. Therefore, it requires a lot real-world semi-autonomous driving data.

Mr. Fridman and his team are striving to expand their research and start collecting more data, offering Tesla owners $1,000 per year to participate in the study. He suggested that the data is not affected by the drivers being aware that they are being watched.

The associate was contacted by Tesla regarding the research and he hopes that the company participates in it, while adding a camera facing towards the driver in its vehicles. Here is the presentation in form of a video:


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