Tesla’s Autopilot feature may have saved at least one life last week by bringing a Model S safely to a halt while its drunk driver was unconscious behind the wheel.
It happened in Norway, where the 24-year-old owner of a Tesla Model S was filmed by other road users passed out in the driver’s seat as the car drove on the highway at approximately 100 km/h (62 mph). According to the Eastern Police District’s official Twitter post picked up by Austin Tesla Club, Autopilot was activated when the driver passed out, allowing the Model S to stay in its lane without posing a threat to other drivers.
After getting no response from the driver, the system slowed the vehicle down, eventually bringing it to a stop in a tunnel and engaging its hazards. The tunnel was closed to traffic until the arrival of emergency services. Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident—including the reckless driver.
According to local police, the Tesla driver was drunk, although he denied that he was driving. That’s not what the video evidence shows, however. His license has been temporarily suspended and a lawsuit has been filed against him.
Interestingly, his Tesla Model S likely did not have the latest version of Autopilot installed. FSD Beta 9.1 is a lot more advanced than the system used by the Model S from Norway, which goes to prove that even Autopilot’s most basic features are saving lives as we speak.
It’s not hard to imagine what could have happened had the man not been driving a car with partial self-driving capability. Not only could the drunk driver have hurt himself but also could have harmed other people in the process. Cars capable of safely stopping on their own once their drivers are incapacitated certainly lead to safer roads, and this latest example is as good as any.