High-speed car chase footages from those police choppers are nail-biting-ly interesting to watch but they are just as dangerous. Turns out, there is now a new form of car chase which seems 10-fold more dangerous than the regular ones where the driver at least has control over the car. We found one such incident on the Internet where the driver was found sleeping at the end of a car chase. The alleged incident took place on Highway 101 in Palo Alto, California just after 3 am on Friday, 30 November.
What may sound like a bizarre incident, he was driving a Tesla Model S which allows a certain degree of autonomy. So, apparently the Model S was self-driving and the occupant slept while being chased by the police.
California Highway Patrol had to come up with a plan to bring the Model S to a stop. A fleet of cop cars was organised to box in the Tesla and slowly bring to a halt. While several drove behind the Tesla to slow down traffic from the rear and one car was just ahead of it gradually slowing down, prompting the Tesla to follow suit.
Local media Losaltosonline reported that it took seven minutes on an 11.2 km stretch of road to bring the Tesla to a safe stop. The police then had to bang on the car's window to wake up the driver, identified as Los Altos planning commissioner Alexander Samek. The police arrested Samek on the spot over suspicion of driving under the influence.
What makes this incident baffling is that a Tesla Model S requires the driver to place their hands on the steering wheel in order to use the autopilot. If the car detects otherwise, it sends out several alerts and if the driver fails to respond to them, the car should automatically slow down to a halt.
Commenting on the unusual incident, California Highway Patrol public information officer Art Montiel said: “It’s great that we have this technology; however, we need to remind people that … even though this technology is available, they need to make sure they know they are responsible for maintaining control of the vehicle.”