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Tesla Driver Falls Asleep at The Wheel - Autopilot Ignores Police and Drives On

Yesterday a very strange and dangerous thing happened in the Bavarian town of Bamberg in Germany that is related to Tesla and its Autopilot. On the Bavarian Autobahn Tesla driver fell asleep in autopilot mode. Autopilot ignored police and kept driving, multiple German media sources report, including Der Spiegel.

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The traffic police wanted to stop a car near Bamberg, but the vehicle just couldn’t be stopped. The driver had apparently tricked the car's safety systems.

So The Bamberg traffic police followed a Tesla vehicle for a quarter of an hour on Wednesday, which was apparently traveling independently on the A70 highway. According to the police, the 45-year-old driver fell asleep behind the wheel, and the built-in autopilot then steered the car at a constant speed of 110 km/h on the autobahn, that’s about 70 miles per hour.

When the police wanted to stop and check the man, his Tesla just kept driving. Police said "He didn't respond to stop signals or repeated horns from the officers.” The driver was leaning in the seat with his eyes closed and his hands were not on the steering wheel. His Tesla drove in that condition for 15 minutes. The police statement says, "After about 15 minutes, the man finally woke up and followed the instructions of the police. During the check, he showed typical drug failure symptoms.”

In the footwell of of his Tesla, the officers found what is known as a steering wheel weight, which is used to trick the security systems. It gives the car the illusion that your hands are on the wheel. Why would a 45-year-old man do something so foolish? According to the law, automated driving in Germany is only possible within narrow limits, and the driver must be able to take over the wheel at all times. Napping or other activities such as reading newspapers are prohibited.

A preliminary investigation into the criminal offense of endangering road traffic was initiated against the Tesla driver. According to the police, he has to give up his driver's license until the court decides.

I don’t even have words to describe how foolish and dangerous is what this man has done. I am glad he is caught and that Police took his license and that now he has to appear in the court.

On a brighter note in Europe, Tesla Model Y became the best-selling car in all of Europe in November. It’s for the second time, and not just for electric vehicles, but all cars.

Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.

Reference: Der Spiegel.

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DeanMcManis (not verified)    January 3, 2023 - 2:31PM

All the police would have needed to do it to drive in front of the Tesla and slow down to a stop. Even being tricked, the Autopilot software works to drive safely. It is interesting because at least American Teslas have internal cameras that confirm if someone is awake and has their hands on the wheel, or disengages and pulls off the road safely. People forget that anyone today with cruise control can also set it and fall asleep. Only there would be far worse consequences. Not to mention if the person fell asleep driving with zero computer aids helping to prevent a crash. I have friends who this happened to, and they would be alive today if this technology existed back then.