Tesla autopilot drives man to hospital, saves his life

Posted at 5:30 PM, Aug 08, 2016

One Tesla driver says he’s lucky to be alive after his car drove him to the hospital during a medical emergency.

Joshua Neally, an attorney from Springfield, Missouri, says he had owned his Tesla Model X for about a week when he felt a sharp pain in his chest while driving to work one morning in late July. When the pain wouldn’t go away, he decided he needed to make his way to the emergency room.

According to Slate, Neally doesn’t remember much about his drive to the hospital. Luckily, he didn’t need to do much.

Neally directed his Tesla to drive him to the nearest hospital. While he dealt with excruciating pain in the driver's seat, the Tesla steered him through 20 miles of highway traffic. All Neally had to do was steer through the hospital’s parking lot to the emergency room.

Doctors told Neally that he had suffered a pulmonary embolism, a sometimes fatal blood clot usually found in the lungs. After a day in the hospital, Neally was able to head home.

Neally told Slate that he may not have survived if not for the Tesla. He says that the autopilot may have been able to reach the hospital quicker than an ambulance, and that he would not be able to control a manual car on the highway while experiencing so much pain.

Tesla’s autopilot feature has been under fire in recent weeks after a Tesla driver was killed in Florida while using the car’s autopilot. While Tesla asks its drivers to remain alert while in autopilot, the driver who was killed was reportedly watching a movie on the car’s console.

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.