We can’t be certain, but it looks like this Tesla owner is asleep at the wheel while his Model S is on Autopilot.
We found this GIF via Reddit’s Tesla Motors community.
Autopilot is a pretty incredible system. It uses 13 ultrasonic sensors to help Tesla cars steer themselves and change lanes, avoid obstacles and barriers, and even park themselves. There’s even a feature where you can “summon” your car to come pick you up.
That said, Autopilot doesn’t mean Tesla’s cars with this software are fully autonomous. Far from it: Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk have repeatedly told drivers not to sleep at the wheel with Autopilot on, and that it’s important for drivers to have their hands on the wheel in case anything should happen.
We reached out to Tesla about this particular instance; the company was not immediately available for comment.
Tesla’s Autopilot system is improving all the time but it’s not infallible: Tesla owners have complained about their cars trying to do things they don’t want, like swerving into traffic or exiting too early off the highway. One owner even had his Autopilot system knocked out by a large moth.
At some point, Tesla cars will be fully autonomous. In January, Musk said that your car could travel across the country in order to find you, knowing how and when to refuel along the way, in as little as two years from now. That’s pretty insane. But in the meantime, don’t do what this guy did. Don’t sleep at the wheel — with or without Autopilot.