A Canadian man has been charged with dangerous driving after he was allegedly caught sleeping in his Tesla Model S while its Autopilot system was enabled.
On September, 20-year-old Leran Cai was arrested after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police received a complaint about a car speeding on Highway 2 near Ponoka. A witness claimed that both front seats with completely reclined with two people apparently sleeping in them.
Global News reports that the 20-year-old had his first court appearance in Ponoka Provincial Court on December 11. In addition to the criminal charge of dangerous driving, he is accused of speeding. Police report that after switching on their emergency lights to pull over the vehicle, it accelerated to up to 93 mph (150 km/h).
Vancouver-based criminal lawyer Kyle Lee said this case could be the first of its kind in Canada.
“I don’t know that I’m aware of any other case in Canadian law ever where somebody has been asleep in a self-driving car that has been charged with dangerous driving,” he told Global News.
Lee added that provincial motor vehicle acts don’t address self-driving vehicles and that Transport Canada regulations around them are lacking.
“It will be one of the first times that self-driving features of cars are considered by courts at all, ever,” he said. “That’s going to lead to, I think, really important decisions from the court about what a driver’s obligations are in self-driving mode that could inform the way that future legislation addressing this is drafted.”
Cai will appear in court for a second time on January 29, 2021, in relation to the dangerous driving charge.