California Highway Patrol (CHP) arrested a driver who was found passed out behind the wheel of his Tesla automobile on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge last week. According to CHP, the driver’s blood alcohol content was more than double the legal limit. The man claimed he wasn’t responsible because the vehicle was on autopilot.
Although Elon Musk and the innovative people behind the cutting-edge Telsa vehicles are at the forefront of automobile technology, this driver got a tad bit ahead of himself.
While fully autonomous vehicle may be in the offing, no major car manufacturer has yet put out a fully autonomous vehicle for public consumption. In fact, Tesla warns that its autopilot features are not fully autonomous. “Autopilot is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver,” a Tesla spokesperson told The Washington Post. Rather, autopilot systems are designed to detect obstructions in the road and, if necessary, bring the vehicle to a halt if the driver does not respond in time.
“We aimed for a very simple, clean design, because in the future – really, the future begins now – the cars will be increasingly autonomous,” Musk said this past July. “So you won’t really need to look at an instrument panel all that often. You’ll be able to do whatever you want: You’ll be able to watch a movie, talk to friends, go to sleep.”
…or get home if you’re drunk. But not quite yet.
The San Francisco CHP posted the incident on Twitter and said that the driver was arrested and charged on suspicion of DUI. It also said in jest that the car was “towed (no it didn’t drive itself to the tow yard).”