The driver had taken narcotics prior to the journey, it’s claimed (Picture: Getty Images)
A Tesla driver is accused of putting his car on autopilot and travelling down the motorway at 70mph – while fast asleep.
Police chased a Model 3 vehicle for 15 minutes with sirens blaring and lights flashing in Bamberg, Germany.
It was only when officers overtook on the A7 autobahn that they realised the motorist, 45, was ‘asleep at the wheel’.
The sirens are said to have woken the driver up before he immediately pulled up at the Bamberg-Hafen junction.
It’s alleged that the man had taken narcotics prior to the journey on December 28.
He is suspected of placing a Tesla steering wheel weight in the footwell that mimics hands on the wheel to fool the autopilot.
A spokesperson from the Upper Franconian police said: ‘It was evident that the vehicle kept the same distance from the patrol car in front from the Viereth-Trunstadt junction to the Bamberg-Hafen junction at 110 kilometres per hour.
‘Officials determined that the Tesla driver was reclining in the seat with his eyes closed and his hands off the steering wheel.
‘This strengthened the suspicion that he had left the controls to the autopilot and had fallen asleep.’
Bamberg’s Public Prosecutor issued a criminal complaint for endangering road traffic against the driver, who was forced to hand in his driver’s licence.
Autopilot is an advanced driver assistance system that ‘enhances safety and convenience behind the wheel’.
Each new Tesla vehicle is equipped with eight external cameras and powerful vision processing to provide an additional layer of safety, the website states.
The electric car firm strictly bans customers from using it so they can sleep or get home after a night’s drinking.
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Driving on autopilot is only allowed ‘under certain conditions’ in Germany, according to a 2017 law by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport.
Tesla’s shares have fallen 73% from their record high in November 2021, despite shifting a record 1.31 million vehicles in 2022.
The company, which was worth $1.2 trillion at the start of 2022, lost a staggering $800 billion (£661 billion) over the course of the year.
Tesla’s stock also dropped 69%, marking the end of a rocky year for CEO Elon Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion (£37 billion) in October.
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Police sirens are said to have woken the driver up.