Tesla’s autonomous driving technology continues to improve, but as with all new things that are ahead of their time, the media dives into full panic mode when something goes wrong. But what about when something goes right?
Joshua Neally from Branson, Missouri was driving his Model X electric car when the Autopilot feature helped him get to a hospital without crashing his car, or worse. Slate reports: “Neally was about 5 miles out of Springfield, near a set of interchanges just beginning to clog with merging vehicles, when he felt something coil and stiffen in his abdomen. At first he thought it was a pulled muscle. But the pain forked upward from his stomach, he said, until it felt like “a steel pole through my chest.” When it refused to subside, Neally remembers calling his wife and agreeing through gasps that he should probably go to the emergency room“.
When Neally experienced the pain, he was quick to react by enabling the Model X’s Autopilot technology, which helped him get through the heavy traffic. Tesla’s autonomous driving technology only works on highways for now, so Neally needed to drive the shorter distance to the hospital, while Autopilot handled over 20 miles of highway driving.
Slate’s report continues: “Doctors in Branson told Neally later that he’d suffered a pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal obstruction of a blood vessel in his lungs. They told him he was lucky to have survived. If you ask Neally, however, he’ll tell you he was lucky to be driving a Tesla. As he writhed in the driver’s seat, the vehicle’s software negotiated 20-plus highway miles to a hospital just off an exit ramp. He manually steered it into the parking lot and checked himself into the emergency room, where he was promptly treated. By night’s end he had recovered enough to go home“.