November, 2018, a man, Alexander Samek of California, driving a Tesla Model S, fell insensate from alcoholic intoxication behind the wheel of his vehicle. The car then drove at 70 mph for 7 miles along Highway 101 in Palo Alto before the vehicle was intercepted by California Highway Patrol and brought to a stop. The police observed that the car had stayed in its lane and kept to a regular speed despite the sorry state of its former driver, thus, it is likely that the Enhanced Autopilot had been engaged. It is pertinent to note that Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot does not allow for total machine autonomy, and thus, it is supposed that the car traveled as far as it did due Mr. Samek’s unconscious bulk applying pressure to the wheel.
Despite the recklessness of the driver, the affair was a sterling testament to the precision and reliability of Tesla’s automated systems, adding another 7 miles onto the approximately 1 billion that have been autopiloted, accident-free. There was, however, a fatal crash which occurred in California, of March, 2018, seemed to involve the autopilot feature; yet, it should not be argued that for semi or wholly automated vehicular systems to be mainlined, they must be utterly without risk, but rather, that the risks they pose are less than those posed by human-drivers.
Tesla founder, Elon Musk responded to the situation with the following social media post: