Tesla Model S owner tests Autopilot system from back seat
Some people just don’t want to drive. And some of them get their wish.
That’s what happened to Bhavesh Patel, who lost his driving privileges in Britain after leaving the driver’s seat of his Tesla Model S after he had engaged the Autopilot system.
Last May, according to the British Independent newspaper, Patel set the Autopilot while he was driving up the country’s busy M1 motorway, then climbed out of the driver’s seat while the car piloted itself down the road to watch the car do something “amazing”—driving itself down the road.
The incident was caught on video, and Patel was sent a summons in the mail.
Don’t be confused by the video, which may look normal at first to American eyes, with no one in the right-hand seat, and a pixellated image of someone on the left.
In Patel’s British Tesla, the steering wheel is on the right, and the driver’s seat is unoccupied.
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A lot has been made of driver’s misbehavior using Autopilot, after at least two drivers have been killed, including one recently in California, and one in Florida involving a Tesla fan who had posted several videos of Autopilot driving.
After the first incident, Tesla disabled Autopilot in its cars and revamped the system for newer models.
The latest incident didn’t result in any accidents, but is likely to continue the controversy over Tesla’s marketing of autopilot.
If Patel doesn’t like doing the driving, he just got his wish. A court revoked is driver’s license for 18 months. He’ll have to look for something other than his Tesla’s autopilot to get him around.