A man was caught on camera sleeping behind the wheel of his Tesla Model X while it was driving on Autopilot.
This is illegal. Like, super illegal. Tesla tells every driver that their Autopilot system is not true autonomy and that the driver must always remain alert and ready to step in at a moment’s notice. And definitely not fall asleep behind the wheel, turning their semi-autonomous electric car into a pedestrian-killing cruise missile.
The video we see here was sent in to Jalopnik by an anonymous reader just outside Las Vegas. You can clearly see an older gentleman knocked out cold while his Tesla Model X is still driving along, clearly heedless of Tesla’s warnings and the many, many accidents that have already occurred due to someone misusing the Autopilot system.
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Autopilot might seem like a great idea, but it’s actually really dangerous to think that it can truly drive itself. It’s what is called “Level 2” autonomy in the self-driving biz, which means that the system can handle most driving systems on its own but definitely not all. As soon as something weird happens--like someone cutting you off, or if a car were to suddenly appear stopped on the highway--then the system can’t work fast enough to prevent catastrophe and requires a human hand to step in and take emergency action.
As Jalopnik points out, every Tesla also requires the driver to keep a hand on the wheel at all times and even has a sensor installed to ensure that hand stays there or Autopilot will disengage. There are devices out there that can defeat the sensor (which is also super illegal), so either this old dude has learned to sleep with his hand on the wheel or he has one of these illegal devices.
We cannot stress this enough: there have been multiple instances of fatal and non-fatal crashes because someone thought that their Tesla Autopilot was better at driving than they were. It is not, and if it is, you shouldn’t be driving. Believing that Autopilot can drive completely on its own will get you and everyone around you killed.
So don't fall asleep behind the wheel like this jerk.