Tesla's Autopilot feature is not meant to be used on its own and instead requires a driver to always be present and alert behind the wheel. You'd think it would have become common knowledge after some notable accidents; however, it seems like some people are still lagging behind.
Just last week, a bunch of intoxicated drivers put Tesla on Autopilot and left the driver's seat empty so they could drink and have fun. Now, it seems a Candian driver has been caught sleeping while Autopilot drove the car at 93 mph (150 km/h).
Alberta RCMP received a complaint of a car speeding on Hwy 2 near #Ponoka. The car appeared to be self-driving, travelling over 140 km/h with both front seats completely reclined & occupants appeared to be asleep. The driver received a Dangerous Driving charge & summons for court pic.twitter.com/tr0RohJDH1— RCMP Alberta (@RCMPAlberta) September 17, 2020
The incident was reported both on Twitter by the Alberta Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and on Canadian news. "The officer was able to obtain radar readings on the vehicle, confirming that it had automatically accelerated up to exactly 93 mph (150 kph),” the RCMP said in a statement to Global News.
The RCMP took the matter very seriously and charged the driver with speeding. They also issued a 24-hour license suspension.
"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 statement to Global News. "They are not self-driving systems, they still come with the responsibility of driving."
It's no secret that Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants to make his vehicles fully autonomous but with numerous incidents being reported on irresponsible driving while on Autopilot, one has to wonder if that is a safe option. However, it can not be ignored that there've been times when Autopilot was a lifesaver too. Time will tell how the feature evolves and how secure it ultimately becomes.