Tesla Autopilot Helps Man Experiencing Pulmonary Embolism Make It To Hospital

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Most of the news that one sees about Tesla’s “Autopilot” semi-autonomous driving features in the mainstream media just focuses on stock prices and the single fatal crash with it in use, which occurred a few months back . That’s despite the fact that this first fatality happened after 130 million Autopilot miles, whereas a driving fatality happens every 94 million miles in the United States on average, and every 60 million miles worldwide. Much less publicized is that Autopilot has been responsible for helping many people get out of dangerous and even deadly situations.

As just one such example, a man in Missouri recently experienced a pulmonary embolism while driving and relied on the Autopilot feature to drive him (mostly) to the nearest ER, while he was in extreme pain and quite incapacitated. The man in question — Joshua Neally, a Springfield lawyer, residing in Branson — credits the Autopilot feature with possibly saving his life.

Interestingly, Neally actually purchased the Autopilot-enabled Tesla Model X only a few weeks ago. The purchase was made primarily because, as he stated recently, “it’s the ultimate gadget.” He added that, “it’s the coolest technology I’ve ever seen I would say, let alone owned.”

As far as the recent pulmonary embolism, it seems to have occurred around halfway through his trip home from work (to his daughter’s birthday party). It caught him well off guard. “A little past Highlandville, it just hit where it was the most excruciating pain I’ve ever had. It was kinda getting scary. I called my wife and just said ‘something’s wrong’ and I couldn’t breathe, I was gasping, kind of hyperventilating,” he explained.

Unsurprisingly, Neally says that, after the pain hit, he was very distracted while driving, and perhaps not doing so safely enough to prevent an accident, so he switched to Autopilot.

“I just knew I had to get there, to the ER,” Neally continued.

The local news agency provides more: “So he trusted the self-driving Tesla to stay on the road, until it got near a hospital. Josh was able to drive himself the last couple of blocks to the ER. Now Neally says he’s recovered and is receiving treatment for the issue. Neally says the Tesla may have saved his life, it certainly helped. It allowed him to get to the emergency room instead of having to pull over and wait for an ambulance.”

I imagine Tesla is very happy that it delivered a Model X to Neally before this incident happened — not for the good press, but because is specifically aimed at saving lives, whether by helping people to avoid accidents or by helping people in emergencies (like in this case).

Commenting on the value of such technologies as a whole, Neally commented: “It’s not going to be perfect — there’s no technology that’s perfect — but I think the measure is that it’s better and safer.”

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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