Tesla Model S Driver Sleeps While Autopilot Drives [Video]

There is a viral video making the rounds online, featuring a Tesla Model S electric car, and a man who appears to be sleeping at the wheel of his Tesla while letting his Model S do all the driving. The video, titled "Tesla Model S driver caught sleeping at the wheel while on Autopilot," has gained nearly 140,000 views on YouTube in 24 hours or so since it was uploaded on Monday, May 23.

As seen in the top photo above, the Tesla Model S is featured in Beijing at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition. At least that man is awake behind the steering wheel of a Tesla Model S electric car, and the Tesla is only on display and not moving. The blue Tesla in the viral video seems to be driving along without the help of the driver who is either taking a nap, playing a prank, or has fallen unconscious.

Tesla cars have been equipped with self-driving hardware -- and since October 2014, drivers have put about 780 million miles on Tesla vehicles via the autopilot feature, reports Fortune.

According to Electrek, the viral video showing the Tesla driver asleep at the autopilot-driven wheel could very well be a fake video. Either way, the video is getting plenty of attention online. It is feasible that the technology would soon be available to all Tesla drivers to pop in an address and trust the autopilot feature to take them to their destination while they fall asleep at the wheel -- however, it is noted that even with Tesla's advanced autopilot feature, drivers aren't encouraged to fall asleep while the Tesla drives.

The Tesla Model S driver could very well face consequences for falling asleep at the wheel and leaving it to the Tesla autopilot auto-steer features to get him through traffic. Instead of sleeping, the Tesla Model S drivers are encouraged to remain awake and make sure the Tesla is going where the driver safely anticipates the vehicle should go.

The Tesla vehicles are equipped to alert the driver if something should go wrong, and should Tesla's warnings go ignored, the autopilot will slow down the car, turn on the hazard lights, and attempt to relocate the Tesla to the roadside.

If anything, the viral video has become an interesting way to bring attention to Tesla's autopilot feature in a way that no commercial could. The reactions to the viral video run the gamut from those who don't believe it is true to those who remark that sleeping at the wheel is illegal in such a manner.

"What if he's dead and the car is still just driving around as we speak?"

"This is technically what we all want."

"DISCLAIMER: This not a fully self-driving vehicle. You shouldn't do this or try it. Tesla says keep your hands near or on the wheel. If anything happens you will be held accountable."

"There are 4 different levels of autonomy. Tesla is currently between level 2-3 so the driver must pay attention at all times."

"Considering there is barely legislation in most of the USA and Canada regarding automated vehicles in general, there is nothing specifically forbidding this, it's a weird gray area. However, the law universally comes down to the driver must be in control of the vehicle. Car in control = Driver in control. I expect this to change in the future as they introduce laws for automation on the roads."

As reported by the Inquisitr, the Tesla Model X SUV was recently introduced to the world via the Twitter page of Tesla Motors. That SUV with the X-shaped "bat wing" doors goes for nearly $150,000 -- based on the amenities that the new Tesla Model X SUV customer chooses while ordering online. Those Tesla Model X SUVs were expected to have a June 2016 delivery date.


[Photo by AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File]