Watch Tesla drive around in parking lots without anyone in them

  Tesla Model 3.

Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images

Tesla's long-awaited and long-delayed "Smart Summon" feature is finally released to the public, the company announced on Thursday. [19659004] "Customers who have purchased full self-driving capability or enhanced autopilot can enable the car to navigate in a parking space and reach them or their chosen destination as long as their vehicle is within sight," Tesla said in blog posts announcing version 1[ads1]0 of Tesla's software.

"Customers who have had early access to Smart Summon have told us that it provides both the convenience of their trips and gives them a unique moment of pleasure," writes Tesla.

For safety reasons, customers must constantly monitor the vehicle – holding down a button in the Tesla app – as it moves through a parking space. Tesla encourages customers to maintain a line of sight to the vehicle at all times.

Tesla only started pushing the official version 10 release over the past 24 hours, but pre-release versions have been available to members of Tesla's early access testing program for several weeks. Videos can give us an idea of ​​how these features work – although hopefully the final version will work a little better, with fewer errors.

Here is a week-old video, with a pre-release version of Smart Summon, that gives a nice overview of how the technology works (jump on until about 9:10):

The Enhanced Summon screen in Tesla- the app shows a blue dot representing the location of the phone and a red triangle showing the location of the car. The owner can press the "come to me" button to allow the car to go directly to the location of the phone. Or, the owner can drag the map around to place cruising chairs and instruct the car to go somewhere else. The feature can only be used within a limited area around the phone, outlined by a large blue circle on the map.

The function does more than just map a straight line to the target. The car tries to follow the lane as a human driver would. Sometimes this makes the car take quite long, circular routes, which you can see in the video above.

In pre-release buildings, cars sometimes appear to be confused for no apparent reason. In the video above, for example, the car faces a curb at the end of a row of parked cars, hesitates for a few seconds, then corrects the course and proceeds to the destination.

As the technology becomes widely available to Tesla owners, we can expect to see many more videos released over the coming days. It will be interesting to see if Tesla has managed to iron out the issues seen in version versions.

The technology is designed for use in private parking lots. Ars asked both Tesla and federal regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration whether it is legal to use the technology on public roads, and we will update this story if we receive an answer.

It is unclear who will be responsible if a car caused damage during use in Smart Summon mode. Tesla has designed the app just to work when the user presses a button to monitor the car's progress. It can help the company claim that it should not be liable in the event of a malfunction. But there is no guarantee that the courts will buy such an argument.

Smart Summon technology was the best known feature of Tesla's version 10 software, but the update also came with a number of other enhancements. When the car is parked, Tesla owners will now be able to watch Netflix, Hulu or YouTube videos or play the video game Cuphead . The car now has native Spotify support. You'll also be able to press an "I feel lucky" button that navigates the car to a randomly selected destination, or an "I feel hungry" button that selects a nearby restaurant.

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