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Home / Business / New Tesla software draws attention from consumers and security regulators: NPR

New Tesla software draws attention from consumers and security regulators: NPR



A Tesla 3 model is remotely controlled with the company's phone app in Austin, Texas, in this still image taken from social media video.

Parth Dhebar via Reuters


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Parth Dhebar via Reuters

A Tesla 3 model is remotely controlled with the company's phone app in Austin, Texas, in this still image taken from social media video.

Parth Dhebar via Reuters

A new feature for Tesla cars that allows drivers to remotely call their parked cars, pulls scrutiny from government regulators following software malfunction reports.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in a statement issued Wednesday, said is aware of reports that "Smart Summon" is not always working as promised and is in continuous contact with the company.

But the agency did not open a formal investigation.

"The agency will not hesitate to act if it finds evidence of a security-related error," the statement quoted by Reuters.

The Smart Summon feature was part of a software update released last week by Tesla that stated that customers "can allow their car to navigate in a parking lot and reach them or their chosen destination as long as their car is in the field of view. "

A driver using a smartphone app can call the car from 200 meters away. The car will stop when the app button is released.

The company said that drivers "must remain responsible for the car and monitor it and its surroundings at all times."

The promotional video on the company's website shows a driverless car apparently headed incorrectly in a parking lot. Videos spread on social media suggested other problems.

A "driver" using Smart Summon tweeted video of his Tesla nearly colliding with another car in a parking lot. Another did not notice the car on the curb.

The new software also has its supporters who love the new feature.

No injuries related to Smart Summon have been reported, and no jurisdictions have prevented its use, according to The Los Angeles Times . The paper also reports that the California Department of Motor Vehicles has determined that Smart Summon and Tesla's robotic systems do not constitute "autonomous technology" because the car is still controlled by the operator holding the smartphone.

Neither NHTSA nor Tesla responded to email requests for comment.


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