Alberta police drove by a 20-year-old man who was apparently asleep behind the wheel of his 2019 Tesla Model S while the electric vehicle was speeding down the highway on autopilot. They were alerted to the scene by a caller who noted that both of the front seats were fully reclined with no visible driver. When the officer arrived, the vehicle was traveling at approximately 87mph in a zone with a speed limit of 68mph. Both driver and passenger appeared to be dormant.
Full self-driving has not yet been enabled for Tesla vehicles in Canada, so this function was most certainly not being used. However, the standard autopilot does have functions like auto-steer and “traffic-aware” cruise control, both of which were engaged when officers stopped the car. Supposedly, these functions still require an active driver to monitor the road, making it even more dangerous that nobody inside the vehicle was alert.
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The car appeared to be self-driving, traveling over 140km/h, with both front seats completely reclined and both occupants appearing to be asleep. Nobody was looking out the windshield to see where the car was going. 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,” said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in a statement.