Tesla Driver Found Asleep Behind the Wheel of Self-Driving Car

by Halle Ames

A Tesla driver in Canada is facing charges after sleeping in the driver’s seat while the “auto-pilot” system was speeding down the road at 93 mph.

The man’s Model S Tesla had its chairs fully reclined, and was zooming down a road near Ponoka, a town about 60 miles south of Edmonton.

Police ordinally clocked the car while traveling at a speed of 86 mph. When cops turned on their lights to pull the vehicle over, it “automatically began to accelerate” to 93 mph. The speed limit on the highway is about 68 mph once converted from kilometers.

“The car appeared to be self-driving, traveling over 140km/h, with both front seats completely reclined and both occupants appearing to be asleep,” says a statement from the Royal Canadian Mounted police.

The reason behind the acceleration of the car is unknown.

The 20-year-old driver, however, was charged with speeding and, as a result, had his license suspended for 24-hour because of fatigue. He also faces charges of dangerous driving and will appear in court in December.

‘Nobody was looking out the windshield to see where the car was going,” said Sgt. Darrin Turnbull. “I’ve been in policing for over 23 years, 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.’

Tesla Technology

This version of Tesla has an autopilot feature. It allows the car to auto-steer and is also “traffic-aware” while in cruise control. In this case, both functions appear to be in use.

“We believe the vehicle was operating on the autopilot system, which is really just an advanced driver safety system, a driver assist program. You still need to be driving the vehicle,” said Turnbull.

According to Tesla’s website, the car will steer, speed up, and brake for the driver; however, the driver must also be alert and paying attention to the road.

It is illegal to use the self-driving system without an alert driver at the wheel in all Canadian Providence. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) says that a driver is still responsible for the vehicle’s movements when driver assistance is on.

[H/T Daily Mail]