M’sia Police Investigating S’porean Couple Who Posted TikTok Video of Them on Autopilot in Their Tesla


Tesla vehicles are well-known for their autopilot cruising function, but did you know that the hands-free mode is not allowed in some countries?

Well, a Singaporean couple found that out the hard way after TikTok videos of their trip to Malaysia in a Tesla landed them in some hot soup with foreign authorities.

Driver Goes Hands-free in TikTok Video

A mini vlog of their car’s autopilot journey became a cause for investigations after the driver was shown to have his hands off the steering wheel—for some 10 seconds—in one of the videos.


@sgpikarchu Crossed the custom within 45 minutes at midnight. Drove past KL, continuing up north! Go Tesla 🤓 #SgTeslaGoesMsia #EVboleh ♬ Vacation – Dirty Heads

According to Guang Ming Daily, Bukit Aman Traffic Investigations and Enforcement chief assistant director Superintendent Bakri Zainal Abidin said their actions were prohibited in Malaysia.

The police will invoke the Land Transport Act 1987 to launch an investigation.

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Tesla Not Fully Autonomous

You might be wondering, why the big hoo-ha?

This is because Tesla does not have a “full self-driving” system in place even though it was fitted with Full Self-Driving Hardware, rendering the vehicle not fully autonomous and still requiring the driver’s attention.

“The autopilot feature in Tesla cars is helpful to drivers, but it doesn’t mean that drivers can completely take their hands off the steering wheel and mistakenly think that the system can automatically and safely control the car,” Bakri said.

Drivers Become Inattentive to Road Conditions

The use of automated driving functions can lead to drivers becoming inattentive and insensitive to road conditions, according to a research report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


Bakri added that even though Malaysia currently has no laws against automated driving, these systems do not help drivers keep their full attention on driving and the car cannot even determine if there is a driver sitting in the vehicle.

“This will probably cause the driver to pay less attention to the traffic around them, and instead spend their time on other distracting things, such as using a mobile phone while driving,” he added.

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Need to Be Aware in Rural Areas

In Malaysia, the Road Traffic Rules 1959 calls for good attitude, caution and concentration while driving.

Drivers should always pay attention to the road even if all vehicles in the future are equipped with automated driving functions so that drivers can still prevent an accident should these systems fail, Bakri explained.

He was referring to hotspots where accidents take place, which are usually in rural areas, and these are situations where drivers need to be situationally aware.

Autopilot Function Caused Fatal Accident in US

Bakri also referenced the accident in California in 2019, in which the driver of a Tesla utilised the autopilot function, ran a red light, and slammed into another car.

The driver was charged with two counts of manslaughter in January 2022 as two people died.

He said the incident showed the dangers autopiloting caused.

Only Went Hands-free to Demonstrate

Meanwhile, the couple has spoken and said they only went hands-free to demonstrate the car’s autopilot function.

In the Tesla manual, it is written that drivers should put their hands on the steering wheel at all times.


Hopefully, other Tesla owners will now be more aware of foreign regulations when driving their vehicles overseas.

And of course, there have been a number of viral reports about the shameful things Singaporeans did in Malaysia after the land borders reopened. Here are some of them:

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Featured Image: TikTok (sgpikarchu)