We’ve seen this before, and you better believe we’re going to see a hell of a lot more of it. According to video obtained by NBC Los Angeles and an interview with the person who shot the footage, a Tesla driver fell asleep at the wheel of the car while it was moving on a federal interstate for at least half an hour.
Images and video were captured by a passenger in Miladinovich’s [the witness’s] car. He said the Tesla driver appeared slumped over with something tied around the steering wheel.
“If his little thing tied around that steering wheel fell off, and he was still sleeping, he would have slammed into somebody going 65 miles per hour,” Miladinovich said.
While this driver looks extremely conked out, it should be noted that at least one of these drivers denies that he was sleeping after appearing in a video that went viral. That driver claimed to have been simply “very relaxed.”
Still, there is ample evidence that Tesla’s Autopilot is not being used as the company legally requires, with the driver providing “active driver supervision.” It’s pretty hard to do that when you’re asleep.
I would say someone is going to get killed using Autopilot, but that’s already happened. I would say that you should just not be a moron and don’t do this, as we have said before, but that doesn’t seem to be getting us anywhere.
I would say federal regulators need to step in and ensure Tesla drivers stop using public roads as their own personal experimental grounds while the rest of us just want to get home alive, but there are no indications they’re going to do that. I would say Tesla needs to step in and make sure its users are abiding by their terms of service or otherwise strip them of Autopilot, but we all know that’s the least likely scenario of all, because no one, no single person on this planet, reads more jazzed about the rampant misuse of Tesla Autopilot than Elon Musk.
Jalopnik has reached out to Tesla regarding this story, but the company declined to comment on the record.
Correction 4:10 p.m.: This post initially stated that one driver had died “misusing” Autopilot. There is no conclusive evidence that that driver was improperly using Autopilot at all. The National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report only definitively concluded that Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash. The person in question could have been using Autopilot properly and still crashed.