Britain: Tesla Man Banned From Driving After Autopilot Incident

Lynette PayneMay 01, 2018

A Tesla owner has received an 18-month driving ban after he was spotted in the passenger seat of his vehicle as it cruised down a motorway in Autopilot mode. I want to stress that they are in no way a substitute for a competent motorist in the driving seat who can react appropriately to the road ahead.

Pleading guilty at St Albans Crown Court, Patel, 39, told those in attendance at his hearing that he was "the unlucky one who got caught", insinuating that other Tesla drivers with vehicles capable of similar skills are known to act similarly.

Investigators mentioned Patel "was grossly irresponsible" and his actions "might have simply resulted in tragedy".

Patel most likely stayed in the passenger's seat for just a brief period, but it's slightly disconcerting that he had any time to crawl around the Model S without Autopilot bringing his experiment to a premature end.

Patel, of Alfreton Road, Nottingham, drove his Tesla "irresponsibly" on May 21, 2017 along the northbound carriageway of the M1, between junctions 8 and 9 near Hemel Hempstead.

For his recklessness, Patel was issued an 18-month ban from driving, in addition to having his driver's license revoked. "He not exclusively endangered his personal life however the lives of different harmless folks utilizing the motorway on that day".

The video, which appears to show Patel with his hands behind his head, was posted on social media and led to a charge of risky driving.

'The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver's hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision, ' the company stated. The engineer's statement reiterated what the company has said for years - the autopilot was meant to help out a "fully-attentive driver".

A Tesla auto last month was involved in a fatal crash in California while in autopilot mode.

Patel will do more than sit through an 18 month suspension of his driving. Drivers are warned that autopilot is not fully autonomous and that they must keep their hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, and remain attentive and ready to take over if needed.

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