It’s common for car owners to have a hard time emotionally letting go of their vehicles. But a St. Louis Missouri man’s self-driving car has flipped the script – it keeps driving itself back to its original owner’s house!
Ed Selnick owned his Tezlo (not to be confused with Tesla) Reliance for almost three years before selling it to Tom Johnson, who lived 40 miles away. So Selnick was completely shocked when he walked out of his house a week later. He found the Reliance sitting in front of his house.
“I thought Johnson had returned it, and canceled the payment,” Selnick said. “So I called him.”
That call didn’t go so well. “He accused me of stealing the car back,” Selnick said.
Johnson took a taxi to Selnick’s house to retrieve his car. But when he tried to start the ignition, the vehicle wouldn’t budge.
Johnson paid to have the self-driving vehicle towed back to his house, but told Selnick he was billing him for it.
Two nights later, Selnick was awakened in the middle of the night by a familiar “honking” sound.
“I recognized it immediately. It was the Tezlo.”
Not only was it honking, it was beeping to the tune of “Take Me Home, Country Road.”
And if that wasn’t enough, the vehicle’s windshield wiper fluid was spraying freely.
“It was if the car was crying,” Selnick said.
“It was like out of an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’ or something,” he added.
“That’s when I realized that the Tezlo was emotionally attached to me and was driving itself back to my house.”
Tom Johnson called the police to arrest Selnick for repeatedly stealing his car. But the police said they couldn’t do anything unless they actually caught him in the act.
So after towing the vehicle back to his house a second time, Johnson installed a camera outside his home. He wanted to catch Selnick dead to rights.
CAUGHT IN THE ACT
The next time the car disappeared Johnson checked the video and was astonished to find that the car had started by itself and driven off on its own.
This time at Selnick’s house the Tezlo’s horn honked to the tune of The Beatles’ “Baby You Can Drive My Car!”
Charlie Yang, an engineer at Tezlo said, “If cars are smart enough to drive without a human, the logical next step is that they’ll drive where they want to go. In this case ‘Tezzy’ obviously got very attached to its original owner and wanted to chauffeur him around.”
When Selnick and Johnson finally wrapped their heads around what was happening, they agreed to void their contract and return the car to Selnick.
“We couldn’t deny the car what it wanted,” Johnson said.
As for “Tezzy,” when it realized Selnick owned it again, it flashed its headlights on and off continuously, began honking to the tune of James Brown’s “I’m Back!” and, insists Selnick, “Began imitating James Brown’s dance moves.
“I’ll never sell ‘Tezzy’ again,” Selnick swore. “I mean, that car’s more devoted to me than my dog.”