"Autopilot is not an autonomous driving system, drivers still have a responsibility."
A Tesla Model S owner in Alberta, Canada, has been charged with reckless driving after being stopped while sleeping while driving at 150 km/h. This case raises questions about Tesla’s partially automated driving system.
On July 9, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police received a complaint about reckless driving on a highway near Ponock in Alberta. According to police, the 2019 Tesla Model S was "driving over 140 km/h with both front seats fully reclined and both passengers appearing to be asleep."
The officers began chasing the car with the hazard lights flashing, after which the car "automatically started accelerating ", eventually reaching a speed of 150 km/h, police said. After the vehicle was brought to a halt, the driver, a 21-year-old male from British Columbia, was charged with speeding and driving while fatigued, resulting in a 24-hour suspension. The man was later also charged with dangerous driving.
"While new vehicle manufacturers are building in safeguards to prevent drivers from taking advantage of new automated systems in vehicles, these systems are just additional safety systems," Superintendent Gary Graham of Alberta RCMP Traffic Services said in a statement. "These are not unmanned systems, drivers are still responsible for driving."
A Tesla spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. Autopilot is a semi -autonomous system that combines adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, self-parking and, more recently, the ability to automatically switch lanes. It uses a suite of sensors including eight cameras, radar and ultrasound to automate some driving tasks, but also requires drivers to remain connected to the vehicle.
Also Read: First Man Killed in Ransomware Attack
Highway investigators have proven that the automaker’s autopilot system has contributed to a number of fatal crashes in the past, and the families of the deceased drivers are suing Tesla.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has blamed autopilot crashes on driver overconfidence. “When a major crash happens, it’s almost always, maybe always, about the power user, and the issue is more of a shift in self-confidence, " Musk said in 2018.
It’s unclear to what extent a Tesla owner in Canada abused Autopilot. Tesla said the advanced driver assistance system will only work when it detects the driver’s hands on the steering wheel. If the driver’s hands are not detected, the driving display will flash, followed by audible warnings, and eventually the autopilot will disengage.
Since its launch in 2015, Tesla owners have been looking for new and creative ways to fool the autopilot. People are uploading videos of themselves sitting in the back seat while their cars drive "autonomously" down the highway. In response, Tesla updated its software to require drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel — which seemed like a smart move until one of the drivers realized that all you had to do to fool the system was press an orange against the steering wheel. wheel to simulate the pressure of a human hand.
The "Autopilot Buddy" was a piece of magnetic plastic that was attached to the steering wheel to give the impression that the driver was holding their hands there.
People love to cheat technology, even if it could cost them their lives.