Tesla YouTuber warned by police in the UK not to use Autopilot on public roads

Tesla Driver Magic Roundabout Swindon

There are countless videos on YouTube of Tesla fans showing off the latest and greatest updates to Tesla’s self-driving Autopilot software.

One video in particular has drawn the attention of police in the UK, and have warned the Tesla owner that what he did was breaking the law.

The video in question by Tesla Driver was uploaded to YouTube on August 16, 2020. In it, he attempts to use Tesla’s Autopilot system on Swindon’s “Magic Roundabout” to see if after his latest software update the self-driving feature can handle the extremely complex roundabout.

Swindon Magic Roundabout
Credit: Tesla Driver / YouTube

Naturally, the system aborted almost as soon as he entered the roundabout, just as 99.9% of North Americans would do if faced with the same situation. Tesla Driver did try to minimize the risk as much as possible by filming on a Sunday morning at 5:00am to ensure there was as little traffic as possible on the roads at the time.

The video quickly hit local media, with the Swindon Advertiser publishing an article on his attempts. Unfortunately it appears the local Wiltshire Police were reading the news, and in a statement to the BBC have warned Tesla Driver he was actually breaking the law while filming his video.

“The development of self-drive cars appears to be accelerating and no doubt will be part of our world in the future, perhaps very soon. In the meantime, the UK’s current legislation does not allow for their use on public roads. The driver in the YouTube video is breaking the law when he allows the car to take control as he is not in proper control of his vehicle and, if stopped by officers, would be asked to attend court. To put this into context, though, we accept he was doing this at 5am on a Sunday and the roads were very quiet. However, he was still breaking the law when allowing the car to effectively take over.”

You can watch Tesla Driver’s attempts at tackling this roundabout below. Let us know in the comments below if you think you could have fared better than Autopilot.

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Founder and Editor-in-chief of Drive Tesla Canada | Darryn@DriveTeslaCanada.ca Have a Tesla tip? Email tips@driveteslacanada.ca, or DM us on Twitter @DriveTeslaca