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Who is Param Sharma?
A motorist was arrested after an officer observed him in the back seat of a Tesla traveling on a San Francisco Bay Area highway, the California Highway Patrol said.
A highway patrol motorcycle officer saw the Tesla, confirmed that the occupant was only in the back seat, took action to stop the car and saw the occupant move into the driver’s seat before it came to a stop, the statement from the US said. highway patrol, known as CHP.
“Prior to this arrest, members of the public had captured video of someone resembling Sharma operating his vehicle in the same reckless manner, and the Oakland area of the CHP had cited Sharma on April 27 for similar behavior,” the statement said. .
The CHP said the incident remains under investigation. The statement did not say whether officials determined whether the Tesla was operating with the company’s “Autopilot” system, which can keep a car centered in its lane and at a safe distance behind vehicles in front of it.
But it’s likely that Tesla’s autopilot or “total autonomous driving” systems were working so that the driver was in the back seat. Tesla is allowing a limited number of owners to test its autonomous driving system, but it’s unclear if Sharma was one of them. A message was left Wednesday seeking comment from Tesla.
Tesla says on his website and in the owner’s manuals that both systems are not completely autonomous and that drivers must be ready to intervene at any time. But drivers have been repeatedly zoned with the autopilot in use, leading to at least three deaths in the United States when neither the system nor the driver were stopped by roadside obstacles.
Tesla has a system to monitor drivers and make sure they are paying attention by detecting the force of their hands on the wheel.
The system will issue warnings and eventually turn off the car if it does not detect hands. But critics have said that the Tesla system is easy to fool and that it can take up to a minute to shut down. Consumer Reports said in April it was able to trick a Tesla into driving on autopilot with no one behind the wheel.
How old is Param Sharma?
He was 25 year old.
Param Sharma, 25, was arrested for allegedly reckless driving and disobeying a peace officer, the highway patrol said in a statement Tuesday.
Multiple 911 calls Monday night reported that a person was sitting in the back seat of a Tesla Model 3 with no one in the driver’s seat as the vehicle traveled on Interstate 80 across the San Francisco Bay Bridge- Oakland.
In March, a Tesla official also told California regulators that “total autonomous driving” was a driver assistance system that requires human supervision. In notes released by the state Department of Motor Vehicles, the company could not say whether Tesla’s technology would improve to become fully autonomous driving by the end of the year, contrary to statements made by the company’s chief executive, Elon Musk. .
Missy Cummings, a Duke University professor of electrical and computer engineering who studies automated vehicles, said Sharma is the only person she knows who has been accused by police of misusing a partially automated driving system.
The case, she said, increases pressure on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to regulate the systems. The administration has investigated 28 Tesla accidents in recent years, but has yet to take any regulatory action.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which also investigates the crashes, recommended that NHTSA and Tesla limit the type of roads where the autopilot can operate and that Tesla install a more stringent driver monitoring system.
Both agencies are investigating a Tesla accident last month near Houston in which two men were killed, and local authorities found no one in the driver’s seat. The NTSB said in a preliminary report this week that it could not get the autopilot to activate in a different Tesla vehicle on the same road.
“I definitely think the increasing number of incidents is adding fuel to the fire for NHTSA to do more,” Cummings said. “I think they are going to be stronger about it.”
The auto industry, except for Tesla, already does a good job of limiting where such systems can operate and is moving to self-regulate, she said. Even Tesla seems to be heading in that direction. It is now installing driver-facing cameras in recent models, she said.
Sharma was released from the Alameda County Santa Rita Jail on Tuesday.
Television station KTVU reported that Sharma said in an interview that riding in the back seat is not dangerous and he will continue to do so.
Sharma’s comments suggest that he is among several Tesla drivers who rely too heavily on the company’s driving systems, Cummings said.
“It’s showing people the thought process behind people who are overly confident in unproven technology,” she said.