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About that 'rogue' Tesla: ICBC says going driverless is not allowed

The autonomous operation of vehicles - like that "rogue" Tesla in a shopping centre parking lot - is not permitted in B.C., according to ICBC.
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 A Tesla owner used a new A Tesla owner used a new “Smart Summon” mobile app to send his driverless car through a parking lot. ICBC says this is illegal in B.C. Screenshot/YouTube

The autonomous operation of vehicles, such as the "rogue" Tesla incident in a Richmond shopping centre parking lot on Monday afternoon, is not permitted in B.C., according to ICBC.

ICBC released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying that the incident captured on video by a Richmond News reader - which showed a driverless Tesla coasting on the wrong side of the road in Richmond Centre - is not permitted under B.C. laws.

Had the Tesla - which was understood to be "summoned" via a mobile app by the owner up to 200 feet away - crashed, ICBC said the vehicle owner’s insurance "may not have provided coverage."

"We’re actively monitoring the development of autonomous vehicle technology here in B.C. and in other jurisdictions," the statement added.

"This is an emerging field that raises questions in regards to both safety and policy. Currently, B.C. laws do not permit driverless vehicles on our roads. A vehicle being driven autonomously in a shopping mall parking lot, for example, is not allowed. The driver is responsible for the operation of the vehicle including when driver assistance is activated."

The new "Smart Summon" tech apparently allows owners to call their vehicles to their location, or a location of their choosing, within a 200-foot radius via the Tesla mobile app on their phones.

However, it doesn’t appear as if the owner in question on Monday afternoon read the instructions properly, as the driverless car entered the lot on the complete wrong side of an intersection and continued for at least 50 yards on the wrong side of the road.