Police use Tesla's autopilot to stop the car after drunk driver passes out

Tesla's autopilot feature has been in the news lately—propelled by stories about it causing crashes, sometimes fatal, when drivers rely on it too heavily.

Now comes a tale of police using autopilot to prevent what otherwise would very likely have been fatal accident.

A woman was driving drunk in her Tesla and passed out; the car, under its autopilot mode, kept going down the highway. The woman's husband was apparently driving behind her and called the police. They showed up and stopped the Tesla by parking in the highway. The autopilot detected the possible collision and, this time, worked perfectly, slowing the Tesla to a halt.

The police radio chatter, which you can listen to on ABC 7, is like something out of an early cyberpunk novel:

In radio transmissions of the incident that were later obtained by ABC7, a dispatcher is heard saying: "The reporting party is advising that his wife is unconscious in a Tesla. The vehicle is driving itself.

"It ended up TC'ing into the right shoulder wall, and, uh, still continuing," the dispatcher says, using shorthand for a traffic collision.

The dispatcher is heard saying the suspect's husband was following the Tesla in a Volkswagen.

"Again, apparently the wife is unconscious in the vehicle," the dispatcher adds.