Indian-origin man seen in backseat of ‘driverless’ Tesla Model 3 on Autopilot


At a time when Tesla is facing scrutiny over its Autopilot system that allows a certain level of autonomous driving, incidents keep cropping up that puts the electric vehicle manufacturer in a spot of bother.

An Indian-origin man was recently photographed in California inside a moving Tesla Model 3, which appears to be in a self-driving mode without any person behind the wheels, has reignited the debate whether Tesla’s Autopilot feature can actually be fooled as was claimed by a recent report.

25-year-old Param Sharma was seen smiling through the rear window of a moving Tesla car without anyone on the wheels. He was soon arrested by police for alleged reckless driving.

The California Highway Patrol shared the image on their social media pages with a post that read, “The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has been made aware of an incident involving a man riding in the backseat of a Tesla traveling on Bay Area roadways, with no other person being seated in the driver seat. The CHP received a report of the incident as third-hand information, and it is under investigation.”

Despite his arrest, the Indian-origin man maintained that he was not at any fault. He claimed the car has been designed for backseat driving and he will continue to do so.

“It was actually designed to be ridden in the back seat. I feel safer in the back seat than I do in the driver’s seat, and I feel safer with my car on Autopilot, I trust my car Autopilot more than I trust everyone on the road,” Sharma said after his arrest. He claimed that he has already done more than 64,000 kms in similar fashion.

“The way where we stand right now, I can launch a self-driving Tesla from Emeryville all the way to downtown San Francisco from the back seat,” Sharma added, even as Tesla continue to face scrutiny over its Autopilot feature.

This is not the first time that a Tesla car has been caught on the move without anyone on the wheels. Recently, the California Highway Patrol arrested another person doing similar trick.

Recently, a report claimed that Tesla cars can indeed be driven without anyone sitting behind the wheels. The report, published by Consumer Reports, came days after a ‘driverless’ Tesla car was involved in a crash in Texas on April 17, killing two people.

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