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A Tesla driving itself with Smart Summon got into an accident after less than a day, and it was caught on camera

Published Sep 30th, 2019 1:39PM EDT
Tesla Smart Summon
Image: TierneyMJ/Shutterstock

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With Elon Musk often saying that Tesla vehicles are the only cars that get better after they leave the lot, Tesla a few days ago rolled out a software update with a ton of new and intriguing features. Indeed, Tesla in a blog post boasts that Software Version 10.0 represents the biggest software update the company has ever released.

While many of the new features seem to be entertainment-oriented — with new Karaoke and Arcade modes being two prime examples — the software update also includes a Smart Summon feature. As the name implies, Smart Summon enables Tesla owners to summon their vehicles in parking lots. In short, instead of walking to your car, Smart Summon will have your car drive to you.

Tesla’s description of the feature reads in part:

It’s the perfect feature to use if you have an overflowing shopping cart, are dealing with a fussy child, or simply don’t want to walk to your car through the rain. Customers who have had early access to Smart Summon have told us that it adds both convenience to their trips and provides them with a unique moment of delight when their car picks them up to begin their journey.

It all sounds cool and simple enough, but in a scenario that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, Tesla owners quickly began testing the feature in ways that border on downright idiotic. If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because we saw something similar when Tesla first flipped the switch on its Autopilot feature and some Tesla owners decided it might be fun to literally sit in the backseat as their car drove down a busy road.

What’s more, some owners are finding that the feature doesn’t exactly work as intended insofar that there have already been some collisions as evidenced by the video below.

This video shows a near collision as a Tesla owner curiously attempted to summon his car from one parking lot to another.

Meanwhile, another Tesla owner incurred some damage on an empty driveway, of all places.

And of course, because Tesla owners are a special breed, this one owner tried to run his own test to see if a Tesla in Smart Summon mode would stop for a pedestrian. In doing so, his Tesla almost ran over his foot.

All of this begs the question: Is Smart Summon even necessary? Is walking to your car in a parking lot really that much of an inconvenience? Truth be told, and as others on Twitter have pointed out, it’s arguably fair to say that the only use-case where Smart Summon is truly necessary is when the weather is truly abysmal, as illustrated below.

All that said, there are of course a handful of videos which show the Smart Summon feature working as designed, albeit in conditions where walking to a parked car would be perfectly do-able.

Incidentally, Musk a few days ago said that “Summon is improving rapidly.”

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.

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