In Alberta, a Tesla Model S owner has been charged with being asleep behind the wheel at speeds of 150 km/h.
On July 9th, the RCMP said they received a complaint regarding reckless driving on Highway 2 near Ponoka, Alberta. The police state that the vehicle appeared to be self-driving, that both occupants had their seats completely reclined and appeared to be sleeping while moving at speeds of 140 km/h.
Officers started pursuing the vehicle with their emergency lights flashing, but then the car began to accelerate, reaching speeds of 150 km/h. After eventually pulling over the car, the 20-year-old male from B.C. was charged with speeding, driving while fatigued and dangerous driving.
“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,” Superintendent Gary Graham of Alberta RCMP Traffic Services, said in a statement.
“They are not self-driving systems, they still come with the responsibility of driving.”
Tesla’s Autopilot Level 2 is not entirely autonomous. While the system supports adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, self-parking and the ability to change lanes, it still requires a driver’s hands on the steering wheel to work. If a driver removes their hands from the wheel, the display starts to flash, and after audible warnings, Autopilot turns off.
However, some Tesla owners have found ways to trick the Autopilot feature. One was able to wedge and orange on the steering wheel, and there’s also a very unsafe ‘Autopilot Buddy’ that magnetically attaches the steering wheel.
It’s unclear how this 20-year-old tricked the autopilot system into continuing to run while he slept.