Another day and another Tesla driver putting way too much confidence into the car’s autopilot system. Tesla has stressed time and time again that their autopilot system requires constant driver supervision as well. This man from Wisconsin, however, thought that maybe he could get some shut-eye behind the wheel. Letting the autopilot do the rest of the work.
The incident happened around 8 a.m on Sunday when a deputy found that a 2019 Tesla was going down interstate 94 at 82 mph. Upon getting a closer look the deputy could clearly see that the man behind the wheel was dozing off while the car was on autopilot. At least he was behind the wheel and not in the back seat.
According to a statement from the deputy, “the driver was not pulling over as he followed behind it for approximately 2 miles at 82 mph through Kenosha County”. It’s understandable that the driver was a little woozy at 8 a.m in the morning but sleeping behind the wheel could have led to a very bad crash, especially at the speed at which the car was going. It’s a good thing that the deputy spotted the problem when he did.
The driver finally managed to wake up in time and brought the vehicle to a full stop on the side of the highway. The driver denied that he was asleep when confronted but admitted that he was feeling tired. In the end, he got away with just a citation for inattentive driving though the situation could have gotten worse if he hadn’t woken up in time. Luckily traffic is a little sketchy on the interstate at 8 a.m.
The news isn’t any good for Tesla though, as every incident that happens reflects badly on the company. Even though most of them can be jotted down to the carelessness of the drivers. It still solidifies the fact that the company’s autopilot system is actually imperfect. Regulators across the US are finally paying attention to the problem. California’s Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed last week that it is investigating Tesla’s claims about its self-driving features.
Tesla has been pretty mute about all the incidents though. It isn’t surprising, given that the company has no PR department anymore. One can only hope that people stop overestimating Tesla’s autopilot system and realize that it is more an assisted-driving car rather than a self-driving car. No matter how Tesla wants to market it.