In something of a bizarre tale, a Tesla owner named Bhavesh Patel in England was caught on video sitting in the passenger seat of his Model S while the vehicle drove on its own via the car’s Autopilot feature. As if that weren’t bad enough, the police report adds that Patel, while sitting in the passenger seat, was in full-on relax mode, with his hands behind his head and his legs up on the dash.
Compounding matters is that Patel’s Model S at the time was reportedly going about 40mph on a relatively busy road when he was caught trying to relax in the midst of traffic. Incidentally, the video of Patel wasn’t captured by government cameras, but rather by a concerned driver who, we can only presume, couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
A video of the incident can be seen below.
Patel has since been banned from driving for 18 months, according to a report from the BBC.
PC Kirk Caldicutt from Hertfordshire Police said: “What Patel did was grossly irresponsible and could have easily ended in tragedy.
“He not only endangered his own life but the lives of other innocent people using the motorway on that day.”
Patel was disqualified for 18 months and must do 100 hours of unpaid work.
Tesla, it’s worth noting, has implemented a number of safety precautions to prevent behavior similar to what Patel engaged in. When Tesla first introduced Autopilot a few years back, there were stories and videos of Tesla owners turning on the feature and engaging in incredibly dangerous behavior such as eating breakfast. One driver even went so far as to go sit in the backseat as his Tesla was driving down the highway.
Addressing the matter, Elon Musk at the time said: “There’s been some fairly crazy videos on YouTube… this is not good. And we will be putting some additional constraints on when autopilot can be activated to minimize the possibility of people doing crazy things with it.”