Driver booked for falling asleep in 'autopilot' Tesla

San Francisco


A man was arrested in California, US, on suspicion of drinking and driving after he fell asleep behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S although he was travelling autopilot and did not crash.

"It appears the driver had the Tesla driver-assist or autopilot function engaged at the time he was pulled over, but the California Highway Patrol (CHP) needs to finish its investigation before making a final determination," the Mercury News reported late on Friday quoting Officer Art Montiel.

The CHP official had noticed a grey-coloured Tesla Model S driving on Highway 101 near Whipple Avenue in Redwood City, California at about 70 mph.

"When the driver did not respond, the officer drove in front of the Tesla in an effort to slow down the vehicle. The officer believed that if the Tesla's driver-assist function was engaged, the car would slow down when it sensed a vehicle in front of it," the report added.

The one booked is a Los Altos planning commissioner and was reportedly given a field sobriety test before being arrested.

Electric carmaker Tesla, whose autopilot technology assists in steering, changing lanes as well as parking, has seen its cars involved in several accidents in the past few years.

In 2016, a man was killed in Florida after the Model S he was driving collided with a tractor trailer while the Tesla was in autopilot mode.

In January, a driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol after passing out in his Tesla while it drove in autopilot mode across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, according to the Fortune. - IANS