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First look at Tesla’s new Enhanced Summon: self-driving in parking lots

Tesla is working on a new Autopilot feature called ‘Enhanced Summon’ and it enables a Tesla vehicle to drive itself to the owner in parking lots.

Here, we take an exclusive first look at the feature.

The upgraded Summon feature is based on Tesla’s original Summon feature which enables an owner to remotely move their car a few feet forward or in reverse.

It’s not extremely useful, but MKBHD recently found a pretty good use for it.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been promising a significantly updated version of the feature that would enable Tesla vehicles to autonomously navigate much more complex parking lot situations than just moving forward or back, but the feature has been delayed.

Musk claimed that it was partly due to ‘some regulatory pushbacks’.

Now, Electrek has learned that Tesla has pushed the feature to its early access fleet and it gives us a better idea of what it actually does.

Let me preface this by saying that it’s a beta version of the feature released to testers and therefore, it might not end up being the final version released to the wider fleet.

In an email to owners obtained by Electrek, Tesla said that it could be “significantly modified”:

“The features you will be testing are still subject to change and may be significantly modified, enhanced or further improved based on your input.”

In the beta release notes, Tesla describes Summon as “a parking assist feature that helps you bring your car towards you or towards the destination of your choice by navigating out of parking spaces and maneuvering around objects as necessary.”

When you have the update in your car and the latest mobile app update, you start seeing an updated ‘Summon’ tab that not only includes the usual ‘Forward’ and ‘Reverse’ actions but also ‘Enhanced Summon’:

Once you press on ‘Enhanced Summon’, you have the choice between ‘FIND ME’, which will prompt your car to go to your location based on your phone’s GPS, or drop a pin to have your car drive to a location.

Those two options only work if your location or the pin is within 150 ft of the car:

While you can technically activate the feature from a fair distance and likely with your car not being in sight, Tesla notes that the owner should always be monitoring it:

“Enhanced Summon is only intended for use in parking lots and drive ways, not public roads. This feature is in beta mode and you must monitor your vehicle and its surrondings at all times.”

Owners have to be pressing the ‘find me’ or ‘start’ button at all time in order for the vehicle to keep moving. If you let it go, the car will stop.

According to feedback from testers, the feature actually works fairly well and Tesla’s Autopilot system is able to navigate parking lots.

Electrek’s Take

While the feature appears to have some impressive capabilities, I have some doubts about its usefulness under its current form.

It sounds like it’s pretty close to enabling to get out of a store and call your car to pick you up at the door, but if you need to monitor it at all times, which is probably going to be a regulatory restriction, then it’s just not really useful.

In the notes, Tesla also says that you can link it to your homelink for it to open your garage door, like the current version of Summon.

So if you have a more complex garage/driveway situation, it might be more useful?

Either way, it is pretty crazy that Tesla vehicles might soon autonomously drive in parking lots all over the place.

What do you think? Can you think of useful use cases for Tesla’s new Enhanced Summon? Let us know in the comment section below.

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