Man Filmed Asleep At The Wheel Of Tesla For More Than 30 Miles On US Freeway

Get up, you're asleep at the wheel. Milias1987/Shutterstock

It's the dream of pretty much every commuter (who lacks the imagination to dream of working from home): You get in your car and settle back down to sleep whilst your car delivers you to work.

We're still some years away from commercial self-driving cars you can actually use without any need for supervision from drivers. Several major companies have said they are close, with predictions ranging from 2018 (you missed your deadline there, GM) to 2030.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, thinks he can have a fully self-driving vehicle before 2020.

“I think we will be ‘feature-complete’ on full self-driving this year," Musk said in a podcast, reported on by Wired. "Meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up, take you all the way to your destination without any intervention this year.”

However, as exciting as that promise might be, current models are not ready for this. That didn't stop one man from driving at least 48 kilometers (30 miles) down a busy freeway apparently completely asleep at the wheel.

In a video given to ABC7 Eyewitness News, a Tesla can be seen driving down one of the busiest roads in Southern California, the 405 Freeway, with the driver appearing to be reclined and fully asleep. 

"I realized he was fully sleeping," Shawn Miladinovich, who witnessed the incident told NBC Los Angeles. "Eyes shut, hands nowhere near the steering wheel."

The unknown man appeared to have attached something to the wheel in order to keep the Tesla's autopilot engaged. If the Tesla detects your hands aren't on the wheel, it will activate an alarm to prompt the driver to do so as a safety feature.

"If his little thing tied around that steering wheel fell off, and he was still sleeping, he would have slammed into somebody going 65 miles per hour," Miladinovich said.

Though people clearly trust the autopilot, according to Tesla, the cars are not yet ready to operate completely without a driver, who is required to be alert at all times.

"While Autopilot is designed to become more capable over time, in its current form, it is not a self-driving system," Tesla says on its website. "Autopilot is intended for use with a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any time."

"Current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous. The activation and use of these features are dependent on achieving reliability far in excess of human drivers as demonstrated by billions of miles of experience."

This isn't the first time the autopilot of a Tesla has been "misused". Last month, Elon Musk responded after a video on a pornography website appeared to show two people having sex while the autopilot chauffeured them around. 

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And in March another driver was caught sleep-driving at 120 kilometers per hour (75 miles per hour) on the interstate.

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