Video surfaced Tuesday showing a man asleep behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S while cruising down a busy highway.
A GIF from Reddit’s Tesla Motors Community appears to show a man slouched over in the driver side of a Tesla while the electric vehicle is engaged in autopilot.
The vehicle is equipped with an autopilot function, replete with 13 super-sensitive electric sensors that help the car steer in and out of lanes, keep on the road, and ultimately allow the owner to loaf around while the car does all the work.
Tesla’s titular owner and techno-guru Elon Musk continually warns customers that the company’s Model S is not fully autonomous, so drivers shouldn’t misuse the autopilot function. It’s important to keep your hands on the wheel, Musk has explained.
Tesla issued a statement Tuesday once again admonishing Tesla owners not to fall asleep behind the wheel of its cars — not only is it a public relations nightmare, but it’s also dangerous.
“Autopilot is by far the most advanced such system on the road,” a statement from the company reads, “but it does not turn a Tesla into an autonomous vehicle and does not allow the driver to abdicate responsibility.”
The statement continued: “Since the release of Autopilot, we’ve continuously educated customers on the use of the feature, reminding them that they’re responsible for remaining alert and present when using Autopilot and must be prepared to take control at all times.”
This most recent incident is an example of how the Model S is still very much a work in progress.
Tesla’s autopilot technology works by collecting troves of data from surrounding vehicles to pinpoint geographically the vehicle’s location.
Tesla owners have complained about their cars doing things they don’t want, such as veering too off the highway at inopportune moments. In one instance captured on video, a Tesla driver can be seen grabbing the wheel to avoid a head-on collision as the autonomous feature caused the vehicle to serve into oncoming traffic.
Musk told reporters in January that the self-driving software will be updated to limit its use on residential roads after several customers posted YouTube videos of themselves reading books in the backseat while the autopilot function was engaged.
Musk went on to say he believes the restrictions are warranted in order to keep people from doing “crazy things” while the autopilot function is engaged.
Tesla has not indicated whether it will make similar autopilot restrictions on highways and byways.
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