Tesla autopilot blamed as driver found asleep at 70mph

They did everything they could to rouse him but nothing (neither the sirens or the flashing lights) worked to that effect.

It was then that the officers, whose names have not been released, invented what the CHP says is a new maneuver in highway traffic control. Tesla's Autopilot, which is one of the most advanced on the market, was recently used to drive seven miles down a highway while the driver is alleged to have been asleep and drunk behind the wheel.

The quick-thinking cops in Palo Alto made a decision to bring the weird situation to an end as quickly and safely as possible: they first established a moving perimeter far behind the Tesla to keep other drivers safe before one of the officers, who suspected that the vehicle's autopilot system might be engaged, drove in front of the auto and began gradually slowing down.

The cameras and computer algorithms of the vehicle's self-driving system did their job, slowing to avoid ramming the officer's auto.

The formation reportedly travelled seven miles in seven minutes before the runaway Tesla finally came to a stop a short time after 3am local time on Friday.

According to the report on the November 30 incident released by the CHP, the officers had to knock on the window to rouse the driver, identified as Alexander Joseph Samek, 45.

"We can not confirm at this time if the "driver assist" feature was activated, but considering the vehicle's ability to slow to a stop when Samek was asleep, it appears the "driver assist" feature may have been active at the time", the statement said.

A driver found passed out at the wheel of his Tesla while travelling at 70mph may have been using the car's autopilot.

The Autopilot system in Tesla vehicles alerts drivers if it detects they're not holding the wheel.

CHP public information officer Art Montiel told the L.A. Times that there was no training for the situation the officers encountered.

Vanessa Coleman