Missouri man: Tesla autopilot helped in medical emergency

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Missouri man says his Tesla Model X’s autopilot mode helped him get to a hospital when he suffered a pulmonary embolism.

Joshua Neally told the Springfield News-Leader ( ) that he felt pain in his chest and abdomen for days before it became excruciating on July 26 as he drove from Springfield, Missouri, on U.S. 65.

“It was excruciating pain,” Neally said. “I’ve never had such pain in my life.”

At first, Neally thought his pain might be due to a pulled muscle, and that the pain would pass. Then he realized he was having difficulty breathing and sometimes couldn’t see, so he turned on the autopilot, merged onto the highway and headed for an emergency room.

He said the pain subsided enough that he could see by the time he reached the highway exit, and he manually drove the last few blocks to the hospital in Branson, Missouri, where doctors told him he had an obstruction in a blood vessel in his lungs.

According to Neally, the autopilot mode is designed for divided highways, not city streets, and the driver must grab the steering wheel every four minutes to show the vehicle that the driver is aware.

“It’s more like the ultimate cruise control,” Neally said.

Neally said if he was driving a tradition car, he might have been able to pull over and call an ambulance, but he doesn’t think he would have made it to the hospital any faster than he did by using the vehicle’s autopilot mode.


Information from: Springfield News-Leader,