An alleged drunk driver found passed out in a Tesla on a bridge in California told officers the car was on “autopilot” — an apparent bid to alleviate concerns about him being behind the wheel.
The unidentified motorist was arrested and charged with suspicion of DUI after being found unconscious on the Bay Bridge with a blood alcohol content “more than” twice the legal limit, the California Highway Patrol posted on Twitter Saturday.
“Driver explained Tesla had been set on autopilot,” the post continued. “He was arrested and charged with suspicion of DUI. Car towed (no it didn’t drive itself to the tow yard).”
The tweet did not indicate when the incident took place, but officers told the San Francisco Chronicle that the man was found in the stopped car at about 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 13.
“It’s pretty quick that we get those calls,” Officer Vu Williams of the California Highway Patrol’s San Francisco division told the newspaper. “We always have units patrolling the bridge.”
Tesla officials, meanwhile, said the car’s autopilot function is intended for use “only with a fully attentive driver,” according to a statement to the newspaper.
In September, a writer for Business Insider who reviewed Tesla’s autopilot feature in Australia said he found the system to be “slightly terrifying,” primarily because it runs counter to every previously held instinct behind the wheel.
“Autopilot is certainly not self-driving and can cause some anxiety while you’re getting used to it,” Tony Yoo said of the Tesla Model S P100D. “But once you trust the remarkable technology, you realize that autonomous vehicles are no longer science fiction and it is not just marketing hype to think that we will see it within the next few years.”