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EV Autopilot Sends Police on 68 MPH Chase After Driver Gets a Little Too Sleepy

A man in Germany apparently decided that he was going to take a snooze and leave the driving to his Tesla. The problem came when police decided to pull him over for a traffic check, according to a news release Thursday from Bavarian State Police. It said the unnamed 45-year-old man was driving on the A70 (Autobahn) from Bamberg in the direction of Bayreuth. Officers attempted to get the driver’s attention, but he “did not respond to stop signals or repeated horns,” the release said, as translated via Google. Police noticed the vehicle maintained a consistent distance from their cruiser as it moved about 68 mph. They also noticed that the man in the car was reclining in his seat, he didn’t have his hands on the steering wheel and his eyes were closed, the release said. “This strengthened the suspicion that he had left the controls to the autopilot and had fallen asleep,” it said. The officers pursued the Tesla for about 15 minutes before the man woke up and followed their¬†instructions to pull over. Upon the check-up, they discovered that he seemed to be under the influence of drugs, according to the release. Officers also found a “so-called steering wheel weight in the footwell,” it said. “This device is attached to the steering wheel to trick the vehicle’s safety system by pretending that your hand is on the wheel,” the release said. The man has been ordered to turn in his driver’s license until his court hearing on a charge of endangering road traffic, police said. This isn’t the first time it has been suspected that a Tesla owner tricked the vehicle’s safety system. On April 19, 2021, Reuters reported that police in Texas served search warrants to Tesla about a crash near Houston in which it was suspected that the owner had bypassed the autopilot safety system. In that incident, the Tesla crashed into a tree, bursting into flames and killing both people in the car. Shortly after that, Consumer Reports released a video in which it demonstrated how bypassing the system can be accomplished while warning that doing so can be extremely dangerous. However, a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board on Oct. 21, 2021, said data indicated “the driver was applying the accelerator in the time leading up to the crash.” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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