A quick nap can really reinvigorate you for the rest of the day. But we don’t generally recommend taking said nap behind the wheel of a car. Well, try telling that to a 20-year-old Tesla driver in Canada who recently fell asleep while his car was on autopilot – at 93 miles per hour.
Alberta police were notified this summer by fellow drivers who were spooked by a 2019 Tesla Model S speeding down Highway 2 near Ponoka, seemingly with no people inside. That’s because both front seats had been reclined, and occupants in both the driver and passenger sides were apparently catching up on some zzz’s.
“Nobody was looking out the windshield to see where the car was going,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Darri Turnbull told CBC News.
It’s unclear how officers pulled the offending car over, given that the car accelerated as they approached and the unnamed driver was in dreamland, but once apprehended, he was charged with speeding and dangerous driving. His license was also suspended for 24 hours, giving him plenty of time to rest up in a proper bed. He’s due in court in December.
Tesla doesn’t intend for its autopilot feature to be autonomous; when drivers enable it, they have to agree to “keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times” and “maintain control and responsibility for your car.” There are also visual and audio warnings meant to keep the car driving safely while in autopilot, which apparently aren’t annoying enough to wake you out of a deep slumber.
“I’ve been in policing for over 23 years,” said Turnbull, “and the majority of that in traffic law enforcement, and I’m speechless. I’ve never, ever seen anything like this before but, of course, the technology wasn’t there.”
If we needed any proof that autopilot is a dumb and dangerous car feature, now we have it.
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