Social media users are concerned and enraged over footage of a sleeping driver behind the wheel of a Tesla self-driving car.
The footage, which was taken by politician Clint Olivier, shows a person apparently asleep at the wheel of a self-driving Tesla on 1-5 in Los Angeles. Oliver tweeted at Ralph Nader and Tesla.
“@RalphNader Ralph can you do anything about stopping this disturbing phenomenon? My wife and I shot this video last week on the busy 1-5 in LA. @Tesla #sleepingdrivers #unsafeatanyspeed”
@RalphNader Ralph can you do anything about stopping this disturbing phenomenon? My wife and I shot this video last week on the busy I-5 in LA. @Tesla #sleepingdrivers #unsafeatanyspeed pic.twitter.com/ADbpt0uSZ4
— Clint Olivier (@ClintOlivier) August 21, 2019
Olivier’s tweet went ended up causing a debate about the safety of self-driving cars.
“Totally and utterly irresponsible behavior, the best thing to do is video as you have, note the license plate number and call 911 and follow the car just as you would if you came across a drunk driver on the road who could kill someone, coordinating with the police,” one user said.
Totally and utterly irresponsible behaviour, the best thing to do is video as you have, note the license plate number and call 911 and follow the car just as you would if you came across a drunk driver on the road who could kill someone, coordinating with the police . $TSLAQ
— Monaco Quant (@Monaco_Trader) August 21, 2019
I would be deathly scared of doing this. It disengages quickly and sometimes you have no time to react. It’s insanity
— Gustavo Litovsky (@agusnox) August 21, 2019
Some folks drew attention to the fact that a sleeping driver in a Tesla is probably safer than the behavior of someone at the wheel who is distracted.
Autopilot is statistically safer than human drivers. Notice how you were most likely looking at this car while whoever sat in the passenger seat was filming this.
You weren’t 100% paying attention, however, the car was.
— Rékk (@RekkesqueUnited) August 21, 2019
Others noted that the self-driving car was working as intended.
Drives better than most people who are awake
— Steve C. (@CriticalHabsFan) August 21, 2019
The car is doing what it’s supposed to do. The driver fell asleep and it took over. This is a compliment to the safety of the car.
— Randy Treibel (@therealrainfall) August 21, 2019
According to Tesla’s website, “All new Tesla cars come standard with advanced hardware capable of providing Autopilot features today, and full self-driving capabilities in the future—through software updates designed to improve functionality over time.”
Tesla also notes that “current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”