bwilson4web
Posts: 696
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:59 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Autopilot saved our lives

Sun May 12, 2019 6:59 am

Basic Autopilot

In a rush, I left my electric razor and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine at home. In a world of disposables, the razor was easily fixed (Barbasol still tastes crappy) but a CPAP is not an off the shelf item. Used to treat sleep apnea, it ensures my sleep is not interrupted by short airway blockages. Then my wife spent seven days in the hospital.

Easily confused by strangers, my presence anchors her in a safer reality to avoid more aggressive restraints. But her 24 hour care requires my sleeping in that abomination called a 'reclining chair.' It has two positions, seat parallel to floor or raised ~20 degree back. There is an extendable leg lift but the seat-to-back angle is fixed. Reclined, it is like sleeping in a bucket with the legs and knees above the rim. To mitigate, I filled the seat-to-back hole with spare sheets, blankets, and a pillow filler so I can 'cat nap' and be available to help the staff. My wife was discharged after IV antibiotics reduced the hand swelling and pain. So I took a nap at my Mom's home, packed the car, and we were off to home in Huntsville.

'Micro sleep' is a thing that my narcoleptic wife (and late aunt) suffered. Involuntarily, the victim goes to sleep for 2-5 seconds with no warning and the most effective treatment is uninterrupted sleep. After seven days cat napping in a bucket chair and one post release nap, I was primed.

Tesla's Autopilot has dynamic cruise control and automatic emergency braking to avoid running into things. The optical and ultrasonic sensor based, lane steering keeps the car from darting into a ditch or into on-coming traffic. It was on the leg to Decatur there were at least five micro sleep events that I was aware of and Autopilot kept us safe. I stopped in Decatur for a pee, stretch, and coffee break before driving the last 20 miles home.

Micro sleeps are involuntary and detected only when the individual recognizes having woken up. When driving, it becomes either a head-on collision or single car accident. Autopilot gives them a chance to survive.

Home again, I have my CPAP sleeping aid, my wife has her dogs, and me in familiar settings. Life has returned to what passes for normal ... but it is life thanks to Tesla's Autopilot.

Bob Wilson
20k/27k mi 2014 BMW i3-REx
10k/10k mi 2017 Prius Prime

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