Tesla’s suite of driver aids is known as “Autopilot,” which makes some people believe that it’s just that: a way for a car to pilot itself. However, it doesn’t drive itself-it still needs supervision. Despite Elon Musk himself saying this, situations like this Canadian couple who recently sought to catch a quick nap on the highway keep occurring. The duo was traveling at 150 kilometers per hour (93 miles per hour) with the seats both reclined all the way back and Autopilot was guiding the car down the highway.
This is not the first instance of this happening, but it is one of the instances that was reported before an accident occurred. Unsupervised Tesla’s have previously crashed into cop cars
collided with overturned trucks, and been involved in several fatal accidents. Thankfully, nobody was hurt this time. I suppose it’s good the occupants weren’t drinking, at least.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police posted the above statement-along with a picture of a mysteriously absent driver-to Twitter this morning. Further statements gathered by the Canadian Global News add more clarity to the story.
“The officer was able to obtain radar readings on the vehicle, confirming that it had automatically accelerated up to exactly 150 km/h,” the RCMP said. “both front seats [were] completely reclined” and “both occupants [appeared] to be asleep.”
Once the Tesla was pulled over, the driver’s license was suspended for 24-hours, and he was charged with dangerous driving after “a short consultation with the Crown.” Global News reports the driver is set to appear in court in December.
As far as what the RCMP has to say about these sorts of systems, it echoes what organizations like the NTSB have had to say before.
“Although manufacturers of new vehicles have built-in safeguards to prevent drivers from taking advantage of the new safety systems in vehicles, those systems are just that-supplemental safety systems,” RCMP Supt. Gary Graham said in a news release.
“They are not self-driving systems, they still come with the responsibility of driving.”