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Wild video shows a Model 3 owner asleep at the wheel on a California freeway

Published Jun 19th, 2019 11:07PM EDT
Tesla Autopilot
Image: Tesla

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Tesla’s Autopilot feature certainly helps to remove some of the stress associated with driving, but it’s definitely not designed to allow drivers to completely fall asleep at the wheel. And while Elon Musk envisions a future where drivers will be able to sleep through an entire car ride, the AI technology required for that to become a reality isn’t anywhere close to being ready.

Unfortunately, some Tesla owners have a tendency to use the Autopilot feature in unintended ways, despite some notable safeguards Tesla has implemented in recent years. During the early incarnation of Autopilot, for example, you may recall one Tesla owner actually recorded himself hopping into the backseat while his car was driving along a local road. More recently, we’ve seen a few instances of Tesla owners falling asleep at the wheel, and the video below is perhaps the most harrowing example we’ve seen yet.

A few days ago, a Model 3 owner completely fell asleep at the wheel while driving in heavy rush hour traffic in the Bay Area. Video of the event was uploaded to Reddit and the man is clearly out for the count. According to the Redditor who uploaded the video, nearby drivers would periodically honk their horns to wake him up, only to see him fall back asleep a few moments later.

Deservedly, the video was initially posted to the IdiotsInCars subreddit. Specific details remain a bit murky, but some reports have indicated that the driver was nodding in and out of sleep for upwards of 30 miles. That seems hard to believe, but as evidenced by the video below, the driver was completely knocked out.

Tesla, of course, makes a point of noting that drivers who turn the Autopilot feature on must remain alert, with their hands close enough to the steering wheel to assume control at a moment’s notice.

On a related note, you may recall a wild story from December of last year when police pulled over what they suspected was a drunk driver, only to discover a Model S owner asleep at the wheel.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.