With the release of Tesla’s V10 over-the-air software update last week, the company’s much-anticipated Smart Summon feature has arrived. The only trouble is, unleashing such a function into the public world as a big beta test hasn’t gone entirely smoothly.
It’s undoubtedly impressive when it works, even if walking the last few dozen metres to where you parked your car doesn’t seem like a problem which was crying out for being solved. But only a few days on from V10’s release, social media is already littered with examples of the tech appearing to cause near-misses and accidents.
We see one Tesla almost pulling out on an SUV, two videos of cars that can’t seem to tell the difference between tarmac and grass, and a Model 3 hitting a reversing Lexus. In the case of the latter, you can’t help but think that a human behind the wheel would have spotted the reverse lights and stopped.
Tesla does say that users must have “clear line of sight” to the car and that “Those using Smart Summon must remain responsible for the car and monitor it and its surroundings at all times”. Although this does seem to contradict a Tweet from the company which states “Where have you parked your Tesla? But also, who cares?”
It had been thought that Tesla’s own promotional video showed a Summon-enabled vehicle going the wrong way around the company’s Freemont factory car park, although it has since been pointed out that this part of the facility is two-way.
The feature, which is available on any Tesla product fitted with ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ or ‘Enhanced Autopilot’, can be used when you’re up to 60 metres away from the vehicle using the Tesla smartphone app. Pressing and holding the ‘Come To Me’ button will see the car start to drive to your location, although the car will stop as soon as you lift off. Alternatively, you can select another nearby location for the car to drive to with the ‘Come To Target’ mode.
Other, less controversial features in V10 include Tesla Theatre, which allows you to watch Netflix or live TV while in park, a game called ‘Cuphead’ which looks entertaining - if not as fun as on-demand farts - and I’m Feeling Lucky/I’m Feeling Hungry. The latter two will “lead you on an adventure to a local restaurant or point of interest that’s within your car’s range,” which you’ll be able to do while listening to some tunes on Spotify, thanks to V10 introducing the streaming service to Tesla models. Finally, there’s ‘Caraoke’, which does exactly what it says on the tin.
We’ve approached Tesla GB for further comment regarding Smart Summon’s apparent issues and are awaiting for a response.