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Welcome to the future: Video shows Tesla driver sleeping at the wheel while Autopilot drives

Published May 24th, 2016 1:29PM EDT
Tesla Autopilot Video Driver Sleeping
Image: Tesla

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Tesla’s Autopilot feature is awesome, and it’ll surely be a great way to “drive” your car once self-driving cars are regulated, and once Tesla deploys a more advanced version of its software. However, people driving Tesla cars should remember that Autopilot is in beta right now. That means drivers should still keep their eyes on the road and be ready to take control on a whim. It almost definitely does not mean that you can fall asleep behind the wheel and let Autopilot do its thing — we’re definitely not there yet.

But that’s exactly one driver did, and someone recorded it on video.

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As Electrek points out, the video could very well be a hoax, but that doesn’t matter given the bigger picture. As it stands now, Tesla’s Autopilot isn’t finalized software, which means it needs constant supervision from a human driver.

On top of that, driverless cars aren’t yet legal. While the US government – and other governments – is developing the legal framework needed to regulate self-driving cars, nobody can really sell autonomous cars right now. Even if Autopilot was better at driving cars than humans, regulators aren’t yet ready to greenlight the tech.

The Model S in the following video seems to be doing all the driving in what looks like heavy traffic. Meanwhile, the driver appears to be sleeping. Thankfully, the car is hardly moving, which means the computer can quickly stop if it needs to. Assuming something wrong happens, the car will try to alert the driver. If the driver doesn’t respond to an alert, the car will decelerate while activating the hazard lights and moving the vehicle off the road, Electrek reminds us.

Even so, regardless of whether your car has smart features like Autopilot enabled, you definitely shouldn’t fall asleep behind the wheel.

The full video is embedded below.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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