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Elon Musk says your Tesla will be able to drop you off and park itself later this year

Published Apr 19th, 2020 10:31AM EDT
Tesla Smart Summon
Image: TierneyMJ/Shutterstock

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  • Tesla is working on a new Smart Summon feature that would enable a vehicle to drop off the driver and then find a parking spot on its own.
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk calls the feature Reverse Summon and indicated that it’s coming later this year.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk often likes to say that Tesla vehicles are the only cars that actually get better after they leave the lot. And while Musk is certainly prone to hyperbole, he’s pretty spot-on in this regard thanks to Tesla constantly introducing new features and enhancements via over the air software updates.

One of the more intriguing software updates we’ve seen from Tesla in recent months has been Smart Summon. As the name subtly implies, Smart Summon allows Tesla owners to remotely turn on their car and have it drive itself over to wherever they happen to be standing in a parking lot. So imagine, for example, you leave a grocery store in the rain with five bags in your hand. Instead of having to clumsily make your way over to your car and get drenched in the process, you can summon your car to pick you up.

It’s an intriguing feature, to be sure, but there have been a few notable mishaps with it thus far. Aside from the early incarnation of the software having a few bugs, some Tesla owners were using the feature in ways it was not intended. In one video that made the rounds online last September, a Tesla owner curiously tried to summon his car from one parking lot to a completely different parking lot. Meanwhile, another Tesla owner testing out the feature had his car drive into the side of his garage.

Not to be deterred, Tesla has no plans to get rid of its Smart Summon feature anytime soon. On the contrary, the company has plans to expand its feature set and introduce a Reverse Summon feature. In short, the feature would effectively have a Tesla vehicle drop an owner off at, say, the front of a shopping mall and then go find a parking spot on its own. Upon leaving the mall, the owner would then use Summon to have their Tesla pick them up.

Elon Musk alluded to this feature coming via a recent tweet.

“We’re working super hard on getting traffic lights & stops released,” Musk said. “Reverse summon (auto park) will be part of the core Autopilot software upgrade to FSD later this year.”

Admittedly, it’s an intriguing feature, but the idea of having a car drop you off and then parking itself — potentially out of eyesight — seems like an idea that’s more helpful in theory than in practice.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.