Safe driving: Tesla autopilot drives owner suffering pulmonary embolism to ER

© Bill Pugliano
In a story that Tesla’s own PR department couldn’t write better, one Tesla car literally saved its owner’s life when it drove him to hospital as he suffered a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism.

Joshua Neally was on his way home from work in Missouri in his Tesla Model X on July 26 when he decided to put his car on autopilot. Neally had owned his car for a week and felt confident about its automatic feature.

Suddenly, Neally began to experience chest pains, like “a steel pole through my chest,” he told Slate. He called his wife and agreed to go to the emergency room. Neally says he doesn’t remember much of the journey after that, but he ended up at the emergency room anyway.

Neally was experiencing a pulmonary embolism at the time, a dangerous blood vessel obstruction in his lungs that can be fatal.

According to Neally, his car navigated more than 20 miles to deliver him to a hospital, where Neally managed to park it and make his way to the ER.

Looking back, Neally says it might have been a better idea to call an ambulance, but that he thought he would reach the hospital quicker himself.

READ MORE: Labor disputes cause walk-out in Tesla factory

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been criticized for his decision to push the Tesla autopilot system on public roads so quickly, with other car manufacturers accusing him of doing so before the technology is safe enough.

The automatic drive feature drew controversy when a driver died whilst using the feature in Florida. A second crash occurred in Montana in July, but the driver survived.