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Driver passed out drunk on Bay Bridge, cops say. But my Tesla’s on autopilot, he said

The California Highway Patrol says a man found passed out Friday behind the wheel of his Tesla on the Bay Bridge told them his car was on autopilot.
The California Highway Patrol says a man found passed out Friday behind the wheel of his Tesla on the Bay Bridge told them his car was on autopilot. California Highway Patrol

When California Highway Patrol officers found a man passed out Friday behind the wheel of his vehicle on the Bay Bridge, he had an explanation.

His Tesla was on autopilot, the man said, according to a CHP post on Twitter. Nonetheless, officers arrested him on suspicion of drunken driving after finding his blood alcohol content was twice the legal level of .08.

The Tesla “didn’t drive itself to the tow yard,” joked the CHP post. Officers posted a night-time photo of the arrest to Twitter at 10:23 a.m. Friday, but didn’t say what time officers encountered the man.

Tesla models do offer limited self-driving capabilities on highways and parking lots – including cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors to guide the car past other vehicles or obstacles, reports Business Insider. The cars can control their own speed, change lanes and take off-ramps, plus park themselves. The autopilot requires the driver to keep his or her hands on the wheel or else pulls over and stops.

Fully autonomous self-driving systems await regulatory changes and additional software development, the site reports.

A writer who test-drove a Tesla with autopilot enabled found the experience both exciting and “terrifying,” reported Business Insider. “Autopilot is slightly terrifying when you first activate it, just from the fact that it goes against every instinct and muscle memory you’ve been taught about driving,” wrote Tony Yoo.

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