Some drivers ‘tune out’ on the road when using semi-autonomous vehicles, early study data suggests

Early findings from a study that is looking into distracted driving in semi-automatic vehicles reveals that people aren’t always fully paying attention.

The study has participants drive a Tesla Model 3 on a stretch of Highway 401. Some are driving manually and others are in the semi-automated autopilot mode. In both instances, people are being measured on how focused they are.

Francesco Biondi, a kinesiology professor at the University of Windsor and one of the researchers on the study, told Windsor Morning Monday that some of the preliminary results have been unsurprising.

When using the automated system, he said, drivers tended to “tune out” on what he described as a boring stretch of the highway — from Windsor to Chatham.