Tech & Science

Tesla Autopilot Takes Driver Safely to Hospital

tesla autopilot hospital elon musk
A sign at a Tesla showroom, Palo Alto, California, November 5, 2013. A Tesla Model X assisted a driver suffering from a medical emergency. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A man suffering from a pulmonary embolism was driven 20 miles to a hospital by the Autopilot system on his Tesla car, according to reports.

Joshua Neally, a 37-year-old from Missouri, was driving home when he experienced the medical emergency. Deciding the best course of action was to get to a hospital in his car, Neally let the Autopilot system of his Model X take control on the highway. He was then able to finish the final section of the journey from the highway to the hospital by himself.

“It just hit where it was the most excruciating pain I’ve ever had,” Neally told local news broadcaster KY3. “It was kind of getting scary. I called my wife and just said ‘something’s wrong’ and I couldn’t breathe, I was gasping, kind of hyperventilating. I just knew I had to get there, to the ER.”

Neally credits the technology with potentially saving his life, offering a counter argument to fears raised after the Autopilot system was blamed for a fatal accident in Florida earlier this year.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously said that the Autopilot mode reduces the likelihood of a car accident by up to 50 percent. Speaking in April to Ketil Solvik-Olsen, Norway’s minister of transport and communications, Musk said that early data taken from the semi-autonomous driving mode suggested that the system was “twice as good as a person.”

Musk said: “Even with our first version [it’s safer than a human]. I think it’s going to be important in terms of satisfying regulators and the public to show statistically with a large amount of data—with billions of kilometers of driving—to say that the safety level is definitely better, by a meaningful margin, if it’s autonomous versus non-autonomous.”

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