A wild, if not disturbing, video that originally surfaced on Jalopnik shows a Tesla Model X owner taking a full-on snooze while his car drives down the highway. Tesla’s Autopilot feature is of course activated but it’s clearly not designed to let people fall asleep at the wheel. If anything, the Tesla driver in the video is so relaxed that he’s not even at the wheel; he’s full-on reclining.
The Model X in question was reportedly on a highway headed to Las Vegas and thankfully didn’t get into any type of serious crash. Indeed, there have been cases where Tesla vehicles on Autopilot get into serious crashes even with a fully alert and attentive driver. Tesla, to its credit, began implementing safety measures around its Autopilot feature in response to Tesla owners abusing the feature in downright dangerous ways. In one widely circulated video that has since been removed from YouTube, a Model S owner a few years ago turned on Autopilot and actually went into the backseat while the Tesla handled all the driving.
The slo-mo video of the sleeping Tesla driver can be seen below.
While there’s no denying that Tesla’s Autopilot feature works well when used correctly — and has even been known to help save lives — some folks believe that the Autopilot name itself is misleading and can cause drivers to rely on the feature too heavily. A few months ago, for example, a consumer watchdog group penned a letter to the FTC arguing that the Autopilot name should be changed.
The letter reads in part:
The marketing and advertising practices of Tesla, combined with Elon Musk’s public statements, have made it reasonable for Tesla owners to believe, and act on that belief, that a Tesla with Autopilot is an autonomous vehicle capable of “self-driving
Tesla is the only automaker to market its Level 2 vehicles as “self-driving”, and the name of its driver assistance suite of features, Autopilot, connotes full autonomy. In addition to these formal marketing and advertising ploys, Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, frequently misleads and deceives consumers about Autopilot’s safety and capabilities.
There’s no indication, however, that Tesla will tweak the Autopilot name in the slightest. At the time of the aforementioned letter, a Tesla spokesperson said that Tesla owners have a “very clear understanding of what Autopilot is, how to properly use it, and what features it consists of.”