In the last month, several videos have surfaced on the internet showing Telsa drivers sleeping while their car continues driving in its semi-autonomous Autopilot mode. According to a Fox News report, just this week a video was posted showing a driver near Las Vegas with his head rested back and eyes closed—his Tesla speeds up and slows down apparently on its own.
A video from a few days earlier shows a driver on a Southern California highway, also with his eyes closed. The person who filmed this Tesla and driver said he “observed the car riding along by itself for miles.” Although no one was harmed in these incidents, misuse of Autopilot systems continues to be a safety concern.
After an incident in December, Telsa actually responded—a driver was cited for drunk driving when police officers spotted his car driving while he was passed out in the driver’s seat. The officers followed his car, pulled in front of it, and slowed down to trigger the Autopilot to slow down and stop to avoid a collision. Although this worked, police officers wondered why the Autopilot did not deactivate on its own when sensors in the steering wheel detected the driver removed his hands from the wheel. Typically, the system is supposed to flash and sound a warning when a driver removes their hands. Tesla responded to the situation and said they were going to be “looking into what happened.”