September 21, 2020

Sleeping While Driving a Tesla~The Alberta Edition

In the “you just can’t make this stuff up” file,  the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP ) saw a Tesla driving on the highway near Ponoka Alberta. That’s normal. What was not normal was there wasn’t anyone at the wheel, and both the driver and passenger seats were fully reclined and the occupants sleeping. The Tesla was travelling down the highway at  speed, up to 150 kilometers an hour.

After being contacted by other drivers about this driverless vehicle, the RCMP approached the vehicle from behind with flashing lights only to have the vehicle speed up to 150 km/h from 140 km/h on their approach.

As Melissa Gilligan with Global News writes, the RCMP stated that “The car appeared to be self-driving, traveling over 140km/h, with both front seats completely reclined and both occupants appearing to be asleep.”

The speed limit for the highway was 110 kilometers per hour and the driver was a 20 year man from British Columbia.

While autonomous vehicles are not yet at Level Five which means they can drive by themselves, drivers go on the internet to find hacks around the safety systems. One hack is to tape a water bottle to the steering wheel so the vehicle thinks that there are human “hands” on the steering wheel.

As the RCMP concluded “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,” RCMP superintendent Gary Graham said in the statement. “They are not self-driving systems. They still come with the responsibility of driving.”

Here’s a YouTube video from 2019 showing a driver and passenger in the United States who were also sleeping while their Tesla was driving.


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  1. Clearly, drivers are the weakest link in most vehicles. I’m guessing these vehicles are currently safest in fully autonomous mode with the driver snoring softly in the back seat, far from the vehicle controls. Fewer accidents, lower insurance, can’t wait.

    1. Thomas, we are currently visiting family in Calgary. There is a Tesla store. And a Tesla service centre. And Superchargers. Our vehicle doesn’t attract any attention in the driveway or on the Deerfoot. And the next door neighbour had a Model 3 in the driveway the last time we were here.

      We drove here using Autopilot much of the way. Note that we didn’t sleep while doing so.

      I do recall transferring to Edmonton for work in 1990, and as my vehicle hadn’t arrived yet I drove my wife’s Volvo to work. I was told by a well meaning employee that I couldn’t park a foreign vehicle in the company lot. Times have changed.

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