Tesla’s Smart Summon Isn’t Smart Enough Yet

can be reached at meehna@gmail.com
can be reached at meehna@gmail.com
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Tesla owners who purchased the Full Self-Driving option are getting software version 10.0 pushed to their vehicles. The update contains one feature that’s already causing controversy.

  • Smart Summon allows an owner to remotely beckon their Tesla, which then uses its Autopilot system to drive to the owner’s location.
  • Although some Tesla owners have had success with the feature, others have experienced close calls and even accidents.

Some of the 10.0 updates from Tesla seem like harmless fun. “Car-aoke” displays song lyrics for road-trip sing-alongs. A new navigation feature allows drivers to pick “I’m Feeling Lucky” or “I’m Feeling Hungry” and be taken on an “adventure” to a local restaurant or point of interest.

Smart Summon, however, isn’t living up to its title. Twitter is already blowing up with Tesla owners demonstrating the new feature not executing very intelligently.

Testing in the field

Designed for your Tesla to autonomously drive to a specific location, Smart Summon is supposed to enable the vehicle to maneuver around and stop when objects cross its path. The feature works in tandem with the Tesla app and the owner’s smartphone GPS system, and requires the owner to be within 200 feet of their car.

As Tesla owners are wont to do, many immediately tried out the new feature. After his Tesla Model 3 crashed into the side of his garage, one owner tweeted to Tesla and Elon Musk that Smart Summon isn’t safe or production ready. Other owners reported close calls in parking lots, including at least one person who said his car collided with another backing out.

Of course, some are thrilled with Smart Summon. As ever, “It was awesome,” seems to be the reaction Tesla was hoping for.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Tesla not only wants to lead the push towards autonomous driving, but has also actually sold the feature to many of its customers. This puts it in a unique position compared to every other carmaker. Some will see Smart Summon as the first step towards the company delivering on its promises, but the danger is that this technology isn’t fully tested and nowhere near ready to be unleashed in public.


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can be reached at meehna@gmail.com
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