Tesla driver falls asleep behind wheel of vehicle going 93mph on autopilot

Alberta RCMP charge Tesla driver for speeding and sleeping

Turnbull - who works in the traffic services department and who has himself patrolled parts of the 300-kilometre stretch of divided highway between Edmonton and Calgary - called it a "first".

Authorities said when the responding officer actived their emergency lights, the Tesla automatically sped up to 150 km/h.

Alberta RCMP said the 2019 Tesla Model S was going more than 140 km/h and "appeared to be self-driving".

According to Global News, the driver, who is from British Columbia, was charged with speeding and "issued a 24-hour licence suspension".

He was later also charged with risky driving and he was served a summons to appear in court in December.

"Nobody was looking out the windshield to see where the vehicle was going", Police Sergeant Darrin Turnbull told Canadian public broadcaster CBC.

Photo of Tesla Model S with reclined seats.

The US company warns on its website that "current autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous".

While each traffic stop is different, Halskov says there are penalties under our Motor Vehicle Act you could face in B.C.

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'But of course, there are after-market things that can be done to a vehicle against the manufacturer's recommendations to change or circumvent the safety system'.

Although the car's autopilot function is able to steer, accelerate and brake for the auto, Tesla underlines on its website that this "does not make the vehicle autonomous", and still requires motorists to pay attention, asking they keep their hands on the wheel.

"The decision was made that, no, this is a marked departure from the norm", said Turnbull.

'They are not self-driving systems. They are advanced driver-assist programs that are designed as safety systems.

So how could a vehicle be doing 140 while the driver was reclined, sleeping?

'And then there's the challenge of solving all those small problems and putting the whole system together'.

WATCH | Is the technology behind driverless cars ready for the road?

The incident in Canada in July is not the only example of drivers being caught while being overly reliant on Tesla's self-driving function, with some resulting in accidents.

A Tesla vehicle with no visible driver behind the wheel is shown in this RCMP handout photo on July 9, 2020, near Ponoka, Alta.

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