Tesla Driver Charged For Sleeping As Car Drove At 90mph

A Tesla driver in Canada has been charged after committing an unbelievably reckless action of sleeping whilst his car drove at 90mph.

The Canadian man and his passenger were according to the police in Alberta, both sleeping in fully reclined seats whilst the Tesla drove along a highway in autonomous mode at speeds of more than 140kph (86mph).

The 20 year-old driver from British Columbia was initially charged with speeding and handed a 24-hour licence suspension for fatigue, but was subsequently charged with dangerous driving, the BBC reported.

Sleeping driver

“Alberta RCMP received a complaint of a car speeding on Hwy 2 near #Ponoka,” Alberta police tweeted. “The car appeared to be self-driving, travelling over 140 km/h with both front seats completely reclined & occupants appeared to be asleep. The driver received a Dangerous Driving charge & summons for court.”

The suspect is scheduled to appear in court in December.

Alberta RCMP also tweeted the above image of the Tesla car which appears to show both front seats fully reclined.

The incident happened near Ponoka, some 100km south of Edmonton, in July, the BBC reported.

“Nobody was looking out the windshield to see where the car was going,” Police Sgt Darri Turnbull reportedly told CBC News.

He said that when they put on their emergency lights the Tesla Model S accelerated, with vehicles ahead of it moving out of the way.

“Nobody appeared to be in the car, but the vehicle sped up because the line was clear in front,” he said.

“I’ve been in policing for over 23 years, and the majority of that in traffic law enforcement, and I’m speechless,” said Sgt Turnbull. “I’ve never, ever seen anything like this before but of course the technology wasn’t there.”

Are we ready for ready for driverless transport?

Some people on Twitter have suggested that the driver could not have been sleeping, as the driver is required to toggle the wheel or make other adjustments every 20 seconds.

But the article also reported that the driver got around this by attaching a weight to the steering wheel to trick the car’s systems.

Full autonomous driving

In July this year, Elon Musk said that Tesla is “very close” to achieving level 5 autonomous driving technology.

For those that don’t know, level 5 is the holy grail of autonomous driving technology, as level 5 vehicles will not require human intervention, and need for a human drivers is eliminated.

Indeed, it is said that level 5 cars won’t even have steering wheels or acceleration/braking pedals.

These cars will be free from geofencing, and will be able to drive anywhere, and do anything that normal car with a human driver can do.

Tesla cars currently operate at a level-two Autopilot, which requires the driver to remain alert and ready to act, with hands on the wheel.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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