Tesla started the wider release of its V10 software update, which includes the ‘Smart Summon’ feature, and it looks like some owners are putting too much trust on how “smart” it actually is and already doing some dumb things with it.
In the release notes of the V10 update, Tesla makes it clear that the feature is still in ‘beta’ and that, like Autopilot, drivers are still responsible for the vehicle:
“Smart Summon is designed to allow your car to drive to you (using your phone’s GPS as a target destination) or a location of your choosing, maneuvering around and stopping for objects as necessary. Like Summon, Smart Summon is only intended for use in private parking lots and driveways. You are still responsible for your car and must monitor it and it’s surroundings at all times within your line of sight because it may not detect all obstacles. Be especially careful around quick-moving people, bicycles, and cars.”
You should always keep that in mind when using Smart Summon, but some Tesla owners are known for being “early adopters” and wanting to push their vehicle to their limits.
For example, a Model 3 owner going by ‘Dirty Tesla’ on YouTube did homemade pedestrian detection tests on Smart Summon and got the car to almost drive over his feet:
Some owners did similar tests with previous versions of Autopilot and Tesla asked to please stop doing that.
In another case, a Model 3 owner decided to do his very first test of Smart Summon, which was really just a test for the camera since it had no practical purpose, by having the car go from one parking lot to another separated by a roadway:
So, @elonmusk – My first test of Smart Summon didn't go so well. @Tesla #Tesla #Model3 pic.twitter.com/yC1oBWdq1I
— Roddie Hasan – راضي (@eiddor) September 28, 2019
The owner says that he let go of the Summon button, which is supposed to stop the car, but he is not sure if that’s what stopped it or if the car did it on its own.
Fortunately, the other car also stopped and there wasn’t any collision, but several other owners have reported crashes:
Other party thinks that I was actually driving because I ran to my car before he got out. Please give me some advise. @LikeTeslaKim @TesLatino @Model3Owners @teslaownersSV @teslamodel3fan pic.twitter.com/ScE12wHqA9
— David F Guajardo (@DavidFe83802184) September 28, 2019
In this case, you could actually argue that it was the other’s driver fault since the Model 3 had the right of way, but it might not be the best idea right now to try this ‘beta’ feature in a crowded parking lot like this one.
I understand that if you need to always keep the car within your line of sight and be ready to make it stop, it’s not a very useful feature, but it’s always safety first.
The feature is in ‘beta’ right now and even though it was in the early access program for a while, I would take Tesla’s warning seriously:
Especially when Tesla issues a warning like this:
“You are still responsible for your car and must monitor it and it’s surroundings at all times within your line of sight because it may not detect all obstacles. Be especially careful around quick-moving people, bicycles, and cars.”
As Seth and I discussed in the last Electrek Podcast episode, there are a few cases where this feature could actually be useful, but for the most part, it’s a showcase of Tesla’s latest Autopilot technology.
I’d argue that it is an impressive showcase, but it has its limitations. So let’s all agree to use it responsibly and not ruin it for other people.
Keep in mind that Tesla has to convince regulators to let them deploy these features.
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