Tesla’s Autopilot Just Saved A Driver’s Life

A timely counter-example for the vexed technology.

8. 8. 16 by June Javelosa
Image by REUTERS

Autopilot Saved a Life

While Tesla Motors Autopilot feature may have recently come under fire after a fatal Model S accident; a 37 year old driving a Model X SUV considers the feature a lifesaver.

According to Joshua Neally of Branson, Missouri, he was driving home after work when he felt an excruciating pain caused by a pulmonary embolism—a blockage in an artery in his lungs.  He was able to place a phone call to his wife to let her know about his condition and that he was unable to focus on driving; and fortunately he had the Autopilot feature on when he entered the highway.

For over 20 miles, the vehicle drove on Autopilot, before Neally took an exit ramp heading to a hospital and took over for the final few blocks leading up to the emergency room.

Neally in his Tesla Credit: Joshua Neally

Neally notes that without the car’s self-driving feature on, it would have been possible that he could’ve lost control of his car when he started convulsing. “If something like that happens where I become unconscious or incapacitated while I’m driving, I’m not going to cross over the interstate and slam into somebody or slam into one of the big rock walls,” he says. “It’s not going to be perfect, there’s no technology that’s perfect, but I think the measure is that it’s better and safer.”

Neally has since recovered from the incident and has received treatment.


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