Tesla driver gets Elon Musk’s attention, free repairs after heroic act

Elon Musk to the rescue — of a man who helped rescue a driver who had fallen unconscious while driving in Germany.

This week, a Tesla driver noticed a Passat driver swerving on the Autobahn, and realized the driver was unconscious. So he put his Model S in the path of the Passat to stop it, according to a German newspaper. The unconscious driver, 47, may have had a stroke and was taken to the hospital. He is now in stable condition.

“I do not know if the insurance pays,” Manfred Kick, the 41-year-old Tesla driver, reportedly said. “The most important thing is that the man is all right again.” Kick is being credited with possibly saving the man’s life.

Well, Musk got a kick out of the whole thing, so he got involved.

Musk tweeted that the damage would be taken care of, and quickly.

The price of a Model S electric sedan starts at about 65,000 euros ($70,000) in Germany.


Photo: Tesla CEO Elon Musk in 2015. (Francois Mori/AP)


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  • Lila Anderson

    Will a rescue like this even be possible when fully autonomous cars in the future are programmed to avoid any contact with another car whatsoever?

    • neilpilot

      Certainly it would. All you need to do is grab the steering wheel and the autonomous function disconnects. Of course, that doesn’t work if the driver is watching a video or taking a nap.

      • Lila Anderson

        No, that’s what happens *now*. What if the future autonomous car doesn’t *have* a steering wheel (a la Google cars)?

        • neilpilot

          Well then, so long as we’re what-iffing the future:

          The driver in distress would also be autonomous. A rescue would not be required or even desired.

          Not only would the victim’s car be in control, but the autonomous function would be so advanced that it would sense his condition and he would be automatically driven to the nearest ER. I’m sure his car would also phone the hospital to notify them of the estimated arrival time, so the ER staff would be waiting for their arrival.

          Does that answer your future concerns?

          • Lila Anderson

            Yeah, I thought of all that after posting my last comment, negating it. But one last what-if scenario: what if *my* car is fully autonomous, but the unconscious person’s car is not? There’s going to be several years of mixed types of cars before autonomous cars are the majority.

          • neilpilot

            As a pilot I need to pass an FAA physical every 2 years. Truck drivers take a DOT physical. Maybe in the future drivers licensed to operate “manual” cars will be required to pass a DOT physical to offset the risk of non-autonomous operation?

          • Lila Anderson

            That wouldn’t help heart attacks that come out of the blue (I remember that famous runner who was so healthy it hurt, who died unexpectedly of just such a cardiac event; it surprised everyone) or the diabetic who forgot to eat and whose blood sugar suddenly plummets, causing unconsciousness… There will always be medical emergencies one can’t plan for; so, back to my original question, now strengthened with these parameters: in the future, with a mixture of autonomous and manual cars, would a rescue like this be possible by an autonomous car without steering/breaking apparatus that has been programmed to avoid all contact with another vehicle? Or would that vehicle communicate with others nearby, and form a phalanx of cars that could surround the unconscious person’s car and stop it?