Neither the doctor nor his vehicle noticed the two police cars stopped in front of him.
A driver in North Carolina has been charged after his Tesla smashed into a pair of police cars while he was watching a movie.
Police say Devainder Goli, a doctor from Raleigh who works at Halifax Regional Medical Center, had switched his car to autopilot so he could enjoy a film early Wednesday morning when the accident occurred.
Neither he nor his car noticed the Nash County Sheriff patrol car or the State Highway Patrol car that were stopped on the side of Highway 64, near Spring Hope. He smashed into the former, which pushed that into the latter.
Violations are punishable by a $250 fine; however if it leads to an accident causing damage or injury, the fine doubles and can come with up to 120 days in jail.
Tesla Autopilot is an advanced driver assistance system that offers lane centering, traffic-aware cruise control, self-parking, automatic lane changes and semi-autonomous navigation, as well as the ability to summon the car from a short distance away.
However, the features are designed to combat driver fatigue and negligence; they are not intended to render the vehicle fully autonomous, and require constant driver supervision.
In Connecticut in December, another driver was hit with similar charges after his Tesla rammed a cop car that had stopped to help a stalled car; he had engaged the auto-pilot so he could go tend to his dog in the back seat.