Tesla Smart Summon is not for use in public places, America

  Tesla Smart Summon

Neat, but use it in good faith, people.

Vimeo screencap

There are no self-propelled cars for sale today. Over the past week, however, Tesla began rolling out a new step toward them as companies pursue the goal of full autonomy.

It's called Smart Summon ̵[ads1]1; a remote control-like feature that lets owners use their smartphones to direct their vehicles to back out of parking spaces and navigate very short distances to reach and retrieve them. Smart Summon is part of the company's V10 software update on its Model 3 Model S and Model X electric cars.

But it is an important warning to use this new system that many people seem to ignore: Simply put, Smart Summon is NOT for use in public spaces. Tesla has clearly stated that this is not what the darn case is designed for.

Of course, as social media readily shows, Tesla owners are already trying to push Smart Summon's intelligence and usage limits. These cases range from "Wow, close call" to "arching an insurance claim." There have been problems with parked cars, and failed to determine where the pavement ends and the grass begins, and so on.

To be clear and fair, Tesla has emphasized in the release that this feature is not intended for activation in public spaces. I quote from the car manufacturer's release notes: "Smart Summon is only intended for use in private parking spaces and driveways."

This next part is important, folks: "You are still responsible for your car and must monitor it and its surroundings at all times within the field of view." Tesla further explains that the system may not detect all obstacles. The company calls the release a beta in the V10 software update. The comments go on to say that fast walking, cycling and other cars are not a friend of Smart Summon right now.

While one might argue that the system may not be ready for prime time, the release is explicit about what Tesla thinks Smart Summon is good for right now. As shown below, it can work well under the right circumstances.

Still, it's a beta for a reason.

Features such as the Smart Summon are part of the Tesla lid. Sure, the technology is powerfully advanced, and it's inherently cool to see a car pick up an owner. We're not there yet. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: there are no self-driving cars for sale today. Tomorrow is still not a single self-driving car for sale. Next year, for no major breakthrough, there won't be a self-driving car on sale. Most people have no idea what the state of this type of technology is, let alone how these new systems can be safely deployed.

But when used properly, it looks like Smart Summon is laying the groundwork for a more practical future. Just remember that it's still in beta, and be sure to follow Tesla's directions, OK?

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