When Tesla’s Autopilot first became a topic at large in the electric vehicle (EV) world, it was hard not to imagine relaxing behind the wheel of an EV while the car does the driving for you. In spite of the picturesque vision, it’s hardly a reality – except for one Alberta resident in Canada.
On Thursday, CBC caught a speeding Tesla driver taking a snooze behind the wheel of his Tesla Model S. The driver has now been charged with dangerous driving, and the officer responsible for the charge was in for quite the surprise.
— Heather Burles (@HeatherBurles) September 17, 2020
In a statement to the press, RCMP Sgt. Darin Turnbull said “I’ve been in policing for over 23 years, and the majority 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.” He continued, “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.”
Turnbull said the Tesla appeared to be traveling at over 140 km/h or 87 mp/h, while on Autopilot. Yikes.
The new technology does present a little bit of a catch-22, given that completely autonomous driving is still not legal, though Tesla’s Autopilot can be compared to cruise control or other driving features that require the driver to remain in control.
Still, it is possible to take a snooze from behind the wheel. It just isn’t legal or recommended. But who knows – maybe that will change someday soon.
Zachary Visconti is a news writer covering Tesla and other EV companies, as well as stories about electric battery news, autonomous driving, and all things sustainable technology. Currently residing in Santa Rosa, California. Loves his wife, his cat Banks, and a good cup of coffee.