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Sleepy driver puts Tesla on autopilot, sends police on chase in Germany

A drowsy driver in Germany had his license revoked after he fell asleep behind the wheel of his Tesla — which had been driving on autopilot and accidentally led police on a 15-minute pursuit.

Police on patrol in Bamberg attempted to pull over a Tesla driving on the A70 toward Beyreuth on Dec. 28, but the driver would not respond to stop signals or the repeated blaring of horns.

Bamberg police tailed the electric vehicle for about 15 minutes without the driver acknowledging he was being asked to pull over, according to a news release.

Officers noticed throughout the chase, the Tesla had kept the same distance from the patrol car and kept at a speed of about 68 miles per hour.

View from inside a Tesla
It became apparent that the driver had been utilizing the autopilot feature when police realized the car had kept the same speed throughout the pursuit.

It also then became clear that the driver, a 45-year-old man, had his hands off the steering wheel and was reclining back in his seat with his eyes shut.

After trailing behind the vehicle for about 15 minutes, the man finally awoke and followed instructions from police. Following the check-up, police came to the conclusion that the man was under the influence of drugs.

Officers also discovered the driver had placed a “so-called steering wheel weight in the footwell” of the car’s driver’s side.

According to the news release, “This device is attached to the steering wheel to trick the vehicle’s safety system by pretending that your hand is on the wheel.”

A Tesla on autopilot
Police said they believed the man behind the wheel of the car had been under the influence at the time they pulled him over.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Police then filed a complaint with the public prosecutor’s office in Bamberg against the man for endangering road traffic.

As a result, the man had to give up his driver’s license until he appears in court.

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