Alex Roy, Carl Reese and Deena Mastracci, are apparently attempting to set a record for fastest Autopilot equipped Tesla to drive coast to coast. Alex Roy held the cross country “Cannonball Run” NY to LA driving record for a number of years with a BMW M5 that covered the distance at an average speed over 90 mph with top speeds reaching 160 MPH. Roy’s record was broken in October, 2013 by Ed Bolin who drove the distance in 28 hours, 50 minutes and 26 seconds.
Carl Reese, his fiancé Deena Mastracci, and Rodney Hawk drove Reese’s Model S P85D 3,011 miles from LA to New York in 58 hours and 55 minutes in April, 2015. They are listed in the Guinness World Records as having the least non-driving time to cross the United States in an electric vehicle at 12 hours, 48 minutes and 19 seconds. This beat the record set by a pair of Model S sent by Tesla Motors in early 2014 when the Supercharger network was established to the point that would enable cars to drive coast to coast exclusively using Supercharger stations.
I got a clue that something was up this morning when @AlexRoy144 tweeted, “What Is The Level 2 Autonomous Driving Record? Enquiring Minds Want to Know” #Tesla #Autopilot
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed classification system, a Level 2 automated vehicle system has at least two controls that can be automated in unison, such as adaptive cruise control and lane keeping.
Alex Roy put a video on Instagram from Richfield Utah with a red Model S with the alarm going off in the background asking, “Has Elon Musk bricked our Tesla Model S in the middle of our level 2 autonomous driving cross country road trip?”
Another Instagram photo shows 90 MPH on a dim speedometer display with this note: I’m sorry, officer. I couldn’t read how fast the car was driving itself. #NotAllExcuses
This team is likely to be the first to cross the United States since Version 7.0 with Autopilot was released to the public. I’m excited to see Alex Roy in the car with the two experienced Tesla drivers. Roy recently shared his thoughts on the consequences for driving enthusiasts in an autonomous car future in an article, “How Science Fiction Failed Us: The Real Future Of Autonomous Cars.” Worth a read.