Tesla’s Autopilot feature is not perfect, but it has already saved countless lives. Yesterday, the life of a woman who passed out while driving and the lives of the police who attempted to stop the car were potentially saved. The lives of those on the highway were also possibly saved, thanks to Autopilot’s ability to keep the car safe and stop driving when necessary.
ABC7 reported that the driver of a Tesla who passed out while driving was taken into custody. The woman was suspected of drunk driving. The vehicle hit a roadside wall just after 11:00 pm and kept traveling with an unconscious driver. The California Highway Patrol incident log noted that the vehicle was traveling at slow speeds and eventually stopped after a CHP vehicle stopped directly in front of the Tesla.
ABC7‘s John Gregory pointed out that it seemed as if Autopilot worked correctly.
“It sounds like the Autopilot feature stopped the way it should have and it’s something they’re going to see more and more of as more Teslas and other cars like them hit the road.”
The news station was able to obtain the audio from dispatch who said,
“The reporting party is advising that his wife is unconscious in a Tesla. The vehicle is driving itself.
“It ended up TC’ing into the right shoulder wall, and, uh, still continuing.
“The Tesla is slowing down to approximately 60 miles an hour and I guess there’s vehicles in front of it. That’s what’s causing the vehicle to slow down.”
Gregory explained that CHP patrol cars pulled in front of the vehicle on the 134 connector to the 5 Freeway and that Autopilot slowed the Tesla to a stop. The driver was taken into custody and is now facing DUI charges. Gregory added that the car can steer for you and brake for you, but it can’t pay fines for you.
I’ve included statistics from the NHTSA on drunk driving in several other articles many times already, so I will spare the choir from the repetitive sermon. However, I think what Eva Fox from Tesmanian wrote is very much on point here.
“Regardless of whether the car has Autopilot or not, some people sometimes drive drunk. Drunk driving is a serious problem. Alcohol has long been known as a roadway killer.
“Tesla Autopilot can have a significant impact on the consequences of drunk driving. With advanced functions, it not only monitors the safety of the vehicle on the road but can also stop the vehicle if the driver shows signs of inattention and does not respond to warning signals. Tesla Autopilot saves lives.”
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