If there’s anything we’ve learned over the past few years of automobile innovation, it is that self-driving cars and autopilot systems are… very much not quite there yet. Sure, there’s been some massive steps forward, but there have also been tragedies, and jurisdictions around the world are very, very concerned with what is being tested on their roads.
So you really have to interrogate the logic of the bloke in the United Kingdom who thought it would be an absolutely stellar idea to sit in the passenger seat of his Tesla while it cruised down a highway on autopilot at roughly 65km/h.
Bhavesh Patel was spotted by a fellow driver sitting in the passenger seat with his vehicle’s Autopilot mode engaged, just having a sick one while he entrusted his life to an algorithm which is still very much in beta mode. Hertfordshire Police noted that the vehicle’s controls were left entirely unattended, and that there was heavy traffic at the time.
When speaking to police, Patel admitted what he did was monumentally stupid, but also took pains to indicate how “amazing” the Tesla’s features are. Cheers for that, mate.
Here’s video from the cops, which really just reinforces how moronic this is:
Patel pled guilty when facing court this week. He has been banned from driving for 18 months, and will be required to pay a £1,800 fine, carry out 10 days rehabilitation, and perform 100 hours of community service.
A strong reminder, here: the Autopilot function on a Tesla is intended to be used in conjunction with your hands on the wheel. It’s meant to assist, not for you to let it run wild and free without human supervision. Unfortunately, the brutal calculus of capitalism means that many of the people who can afford Teslas will also probably be stupid enough to try this.
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