Wild things happen in Norway.
Tesla's Autopilot driver-assist system has been the subject of scrutiny over the past few years. Some users don't fully understand that Autopilot's name is somewhat misleading and that it's not capable of full Level 5 self-driving. It's only rated at Level 2, meaning drivers must keep their hands on the wheel at all times even when the system is engaged. Several accidents have resulted in drivers' failure to do this. However, Autopilot does have the ability to prevent accidents, injuries, and fatalities in the right conditions.
This recent incident in Norway is the perfect example. It happened last Friday when a Tesla Model S driver was caught unconscious behind the wheel.
There was no medical emergency. The guy was drunk. A passing motorist noticed the driver's slumped head and managed to film it for over a minute. It's actually quite frightening just to think how badly this could have ended. Very fortunately, the electric sedan came to a full stop by itself in a tunnel thanks to the driver-assist system. To ensure the driver is paying attention, the system sends out alerts to keep their hands on the wheel. When it doesn't detect hands gripping the wheel after repeated warnings, Autopilot will slowly bring the car to a stop on the side of the road.
That's exactly what happened here. Electrek translated a police statement where the 24-year-old driver actually denied he was drunk.
"At 05:40; a Tesla stops in the tunnel. It turns out to be a man 24 years old who has fallen asleep behind the wheel. He is also drunk but stubbornly denies driving. Although there is a video of him from the car… Necessary samples have been taken."
It's kind of shocking this guy tried to deny the boozing because he didn't even wake up when people were knocking on the window to make sure he was okay once the car stopped. Clearly, he was out drinking the night before and figured Autopilot would get him safely home. Very troubling, he's not the only person who's done this and sadly won't be the last.