Tesla is not just trying to be at the forefront of making affordable consumer electric vehicle; they are also pushing the envelope in terms of e-car function versatility. There has already been quite the buzz regarding the development of its dashboard screen as a gaming platform (with the steering wheel as a controller). But the real meat of Tesla development in this vein is the automation of electric cars, from their self-driving capabilities to more esoteric applications. For instance, a recent update to the Full Self-Drive option on Tesla e-cars is the “Smart Summon,” enabling drivers to “call” their vehicle to self-drive to their side.
But as The Verge tells it, the Tesla Smart Summon function has been proving a bit more troublesome than helpful. This ability was part of last week’s version 10 update release for the Full Self-Driving option available for Tesla e-car owners. Unfortunately the new feature seems not to be performing as advertised, causing frustrated drivers to record their Smart Summon mishaps and upload it to social media this past weekend.
An offshoot of the self-drive feature, Smart Summon is supposed to automatically start a parked Tesla e-vehicle from, say, a parking lot, and drive itself to its owner’s side via a remote signal from a smartphone app. Ideally, the “Smart” Summon is able to maneuver the car around obstacles like other parked cars to reach its driver, from a max range of 200 feet and with the owner having line of sight to it. Instead, the Tesla vehicles running in Smart Summon have ended up causing damage to their surroundings and themselves in their self-driven rush to their owners’ sides.
Examples of Tesla Smart Summon snafus include an e-car that sustained damage to its front bumper, and a Model 3 sedan that plowed to a garage wall. Also highlighted were the limitations of the feature’s obstacle avoidance capabilities, as proven in footage from a Wal-Mart parking lot, where the Tesla e-car in question “hesitated” in moving around obstacles in motion like pedestrians and other vehicles.
In response to these implicit complaints, Tesla has responded to owners that the Smart Summon update to the Full Self-Drive package is not entirely autonomous. The official website did mention that the feature does have trouble negotiating e-cars around quick-moving objects. It is for this specific reason that Tesla insists drivers must have their vehicles in sight before summoning them.
Still, the weekend brouhaha regarding Tesla Smart Summon comes across as a harbinger of things to come as more automakers begin developing smart and autonomous vehicle functions. Tesla is one of the leading brands at this, but others like General Motors are not far behind.
Image from The Detroit Bureau