Tesla driver loses license after moving to passenger seat with Autopilot on

tesla driver autopilot passenger seat patel in
Hertz Police

What will Elon Musk say? A U.K. driver was banned from all driving for 18 months after pulling a crazy stunt with his Tesla’s autopilot that has to be seen to be believed.

Someone in another car on the M1 highway grabbed a video of Bhavesh Patel sitting in the passenger seat of his Tesla Model S 60 — with no one in the drivers’ seat. The Nottingham, England prankster complained he was “the unlucky one who got caught,” BBC News reported.

Telsa cars equipped with autopilot give warnings each time the partial self-driving mode is engaged. Drivers are warned that autopilot is not fully autonomous and that they must keep their hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, and remain attentive and ready to take over if needed.

Patel reportedly told police at the Stevenage Police Station that even though what he did was “silly,” his Tesla was capable of something “amazing,” according to the BBC.

“What Patel did was grossly irresponsible and could have easily ended in tragedy,” PC Kirk Caldicutt from Hertfordshire Police told the BBC.

“He not only endangered his own life but the lives of other innocent people using the motorway on that day.”

Tesla provided a statement to the court. A Tesla engineer testified that the electric vehicle’s autopilot provides driving assistance, but requires that a “fully-attentive driver.”

A passenger in another car saw the Tesla traveling at 40 miles per hour with Patel sitting in the passenger seat and captured it on film. After the video was posted on social media, the video and Patel’s stunt were reported to the police.

The incident occurred in May 2017, but the court case was heard only recently. Patel pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at Saint Albans Crown Court on April 20. In addition to being banned from driving for 18 months, Patel was ordered to pay court costs of $2,480 and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.

After a California fatality in March involving a Tesla Model X, the deceased driver’s wife later said her husband previously mentioned that car was confused by a damaged crash barrier. Tesla said the driver did not respond to autopilot warnings.

Self-driving technology promises to save many lives when it’s sufficiently developed, but no one claims autonomous vehicles are ready today. Driver antics such as Patel’s don’t advance driverless autonomy directly, but they do underscore the fact that human misjudgment and error cause the vast majority of fatal accidents.

Emerging Tech

Japanese billionaire faces tricky task of choosing 8 artists for his moon trip

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has been named as SpaceX's first-ever paying passenger for a trip to the moon in 2023. He says he wants to take eight artists with him. But how will he choose them? And will they accept?
Emerging Tech

3D-printed gun advocate extradited to Texas to face sex-assault charges

Cody Wilson, the founder of Defense Distributed, has been arrested in Tawan. U.S. law enforcement have reported that they are working with Taiwanese authorities to have Wilson returned to the U.S. where he faces charges of sexual assault.
Gaming

‘Hellboy’ reboot screenwriter could helm animated ‘Diablo’ series on Netflix

Hellboy reboot screenwriter and Boom! Studios founder Andy Cosby has revealed that he's in talks to write and act as showrunner for an animated Diablo series on Netflix. Little else is known about the project.
Cars

Tesla says dash cam feature using car’s built-in cameras is coming soon

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is promising the next version of Autopilot, which is expected imminently, will include a dash cam feature that uses the car's built-in cameras. It's a feature many Tesla drivers have long been asking for.
Product Review

With the XT4, Cadillac's tech game goes from frustrating to first class

The 2019 Cadillac XT4 is the American luxury brand’s first small SUV, slotting under the XT5. Aimed at younger buyers, the XT4 is intended to be a nurturing product — something to introduce new customers and lead to future Cadillac…
Cars

Amazon Alexa can now hitch a ride in any car with Echo Auto

At its massive hardware event, Amazon unveiled Echo Auto, a dashboard-mounted device that adds Alexa to any car. It's one of myriad ways Amazon is trying to integrate Alexa with cars.
Cars

At Bonneville, a 210-mph Volkswagen Jetta is nothing unusual

The Bonneville Salt Flats are the ultimate temple of speed. Follow along as Volkswagen attempts to set a record with a modified economy car, and see what makes Bonneville so special.
Cars

Aced it! Tesla’s Model 3 earns a five-star crash-test rating

The results are in and they're great: the rear-wheel drive Tesla Model 3 has aced the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's different crash tests and earned a five-star safety rating.
Cars

Audi’s subscription service lets you roll in style without commitment

Audi expanded its mobility options by launching a car subscription service in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. For $1,395, buyers can choose from five models (including the Q7, the Q5, and the A4) and swap cars twice a month.
Cars

Stop the madness! Here's how to fix those squeaky brakes

Few noises are worse than the sound of squeaky brakes. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to go about fixing the issue without giving up your weekend or investing a small fortune. Here's what you need to know.
Cars

Get your camera out: Mercedes-AMG Project One supercar tests on public roads

The Mercedes-AMG Project One is a hybrid supercar incorporating genuine Formula One racing DNA. The $2.7 million Project One is entering its final stage of development, including public-road testing.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Click-to-brew beer, comfy headlamps, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

Lamborghini’s V12 flagship brings the shock and awe for SVJ duty

High-tech active aerodynamics, trick steering, and good old-fashioned horsepower help to make this Aventador the most track-capable production Lamborghini ever.
Cars

Porsche brings diesel car production to a screeching halt

Porsche has announced that it will no longer be making diesel cars. The German automaker said that, as a sports car brand, diesel fuels simply weren't as important a part of their business as other options.