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The RCMP have charged a 20-year-old British Columbia man after he fell asleep at the wheel of a Tesla on autopilot that was speeding along Alberta's QEII Highway.
In a news release, the RCMP says that officers were alerted of a speeding car travelling southbound on Highway 2 near Ponoka, a small town between Calgary and Edmonton, on Thursday July 9 around 4 pm. The 2019 Tesla Model S appeared to be self driving at speeds over 140 kmh. RCMP say that “both front seats [were] completely reclined” and “both occupants appeared to be asleep.”
The officers who located the vehicle attempted to pull it over by following the car and flashing their lights. The RCMP adds that “The officer was able to obtain radar readings on the vehicle, confirming that it had automatically accelerated up to exactly 150 kmh,”
According to Global News, the driver, who is from British Columbia, was charged with speeding and “issued a 24-hour licence suspension.” The driver was later also charged with dangerous driving, following further investigation and consultation with the crown.
RCMP Superintendent Gary Graham said that “Although manufacturers of new vehicles have built-in safeguards to prevent drivers from taking advantage of the new safety systems in vehicles, those systems are just that—supplemental safety systems.” He added that “They are not self-driving systems, they still come with the responsibility of driving.”
According to Tesla's website: "All new Tesla cars come standard with advanced hardware capable of providing Autopilot features today, and full self-driving capabilities in the future—through software updates designed to improve functionality over time."
The name of the driver hasn't been revealed, and the man will appear in court in December.