MIT wants to pay Tesla owners $1,000 to watch them drive

New technological developments and cultural changes are proceeding at an ever faster rate, and MIT wants to study the effect these changes are having on us. And if you’re a Tesla owner, some of the people at MIT, specifically researchers from the MIT AgeLab, would like to watch you drive. Moreover, they’ll pay you up to $1,000 to do so.

The ultimate goal of the MIT AgeLab study is to make vehicles safer and save lives. The researchers are setting out to accomplish their goal by watching how people use vehicles that incorporate new technologies, how they learn and interact with the technologies, and whether safer driving results from the interaction. After all, just because your car has safety features doesn’t mean you’ll learn to use them properly, or at all, and the MIT folks would like to know.

The AgeLab is starting their search for Tesla Model S and X drivers in the Boston area but may expand to other cities. The cars must have Tesla Autopilot enabled or be Autopilot-capable. The team will install small, removable monitoring equipment including webcams, GPS, and a telemetry sensor in your car (one photo we saw appeared to have a Logitech webcam on a Tesla Model S dashboard).

The researchers will make payments at each stage of the process; when they install the equipment, for each month you drive with the equipment in place, when they access the vehicle to retrieve information, and when you complete questionnaires and interviews. The $1,000 is what they estimate an owner would earn over the course of a year in the project. There is also a $200 referral fee if you refer someone else who owns a Model S or X and who joins the project.

If you’re interested in participating, you can find more information on the AgeLab project site. And if you’re just totally resistant and think change is unnecessary and a bad idea, we suggest you read Spencer Johnson’s classic, Who Moved My Cheese?, before it’s too late.

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