Tesla Full Self-Driving gives epileptic student hope for normalcy

Tesla’s Full Self-Driving and Autopilot technology is designed to create a safer driving experience on the road for everyone. But for one college student, the opportunity to get the option gave hope that one day it could be possible to travel at their leisure, as her epilepsy forbade her to ever receive a driver’s license.

Lauren, a student at a college in Michigan, posted her story on the r/TeslaMotors subreddit, explaining that her first seizures occurred at an incredibly young age. The likelihood of her ever driving became limited because of her illness, as the risk of spontaneous seizures hindered her ability to safely drive a car.

“I had my first febrile seizure at five months old,” Lauren said. “I have focal impaired epilepsy and absence seizures, so it went unnoticed until I was 17. My parents didn’t keep up with a neurologist.”

The Focal Impaired Awareness Seizures occur in one region or side of the brain, according to Epilepsy.com, and the person is not aware of their surroundings. These episodes usually last around 1 to 2 minutes, and involve automatisms such as lip-smacking, fumbling, wandering, and grunting or moaning.

Lauren said some of her symptoms involved asking “weird, obvious questions.” One time during an episode, Lauren “asked her boyfriend who he was and where she was when they were at his apartment.” Lauren also had Nocturnal Seizures, which happened once a week, along with the Focal Diminished Perception Seizures.

Legislation in most states allow epileptic drivers to get a license without much of a problem. WebMD reported that there are 700,000 drivers in the United States with a license but it all depends on the form and duration of the seizures.

Due to her forms of seizures, Lauren was unable to obtain a license. Effectively losing the ability to concentrate on the surroundings would create a dangerous driving atmosphere for everyone on the road, which was the main concern for Lauren in her ability to drive a vehicle. In her home state of Michigan, Neurologists are not required to disclose information to the DMV about an epileptic condition. Still, she believes that cars with FSD capabilities will make her chances of driving a car herself substantially better.

That would make life more convenient and affordable for her. “I’m looking forward to lowering my weekly Uber cost, being able to go grocery shopping without having to worry about running out of food, and being able to go to therapy.”

A sense of normalcy in terms of traveling would provide Lauren the opportunity to be less dependent on others when performing regular, everyday tasks, and she believes Tesla is onto something with FSD.

She admits she was told at first she could never afford one. “I always thought that they were out of my price range due to David Dobrik having one.” However, she looked into the Model 3 and figured out that the car is affordable, giving her hope.

For Lauren, FSD wouldn’t only change her life, but it would revolutionize driving and travel for those suffering from similar conditions. “I just think more people would be able to drive and safely drive.”

Ultimately, only a few years away are Tesla FSD and full-autonomous capabilities. In the past, CEO Elon Musk has indicated that Level 5 Autonomy is at least a few years away, but he is optimistic it will eventually be available for Tesla owners to take advantage of to make driving a routine way of life.

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