In Germany, a Tesla driver was accused of giving new meaning to “autopilot”, putting it into operation as he slept at the wheel.
Police allege that the driver set the Tesla’s autopilot mode, tilted his seat and closed his eyes while “cruising” along the A70 highway near the Bavarian city of Bamberg.
Traffic police officers say they tried to pull the vehicle for traffic control, but it did not stop for 15 minutes, despite the fact that the police repeatedly signaled it with their siren.
In a statement, the Bavarian police forces said: “We realized that the vehicle kept the same distance from the patrol car in front of the Viereth-Trunstadt intersection to the Bamberg-Hafen intersection at 110 kilometers per hour (68 mph).
Officers found that the driver of the Tesla was lying in the seat with his eyes closed and his hands away from the steering wheel. “This reinforced the suspicion that he had left the controls on autopilot and had fallen asleep.”
“After about 15 minutes, the man finally woke up and followed the instructions of the police.” Police say the man, a 45-year-old, developed “typical drug-related anomalies” when approached by officers.
Authorities also said they found a “steering wheel bob,” a device used to mimic the weight of the hands on a steering wheel, in the vehicle’s foot compartment. The police announced that they have launched an investigation into the criminal offence of endangering road traffic.
The man was forced to surrender his driver’s license until he appeared in court. Drivers of private cars in Germany are not legally able to fully use autonomous driving functions and must be in control of their vehicles at all times.
In May last year, German lawmakers announced that they had adopted new rules to set the framework for driverless cars in the future, including the license to use driverless buses.