The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it is gathering information about reports of crashes involving Tesla’s new ‘Smart Summon’ feature.
Since the Smart Summon, which allows owners to operate their vehicles remotely, was introduced, it has been used more than 500,000 times, says Tesla chief executive Elon Musk. A number of these uses haven’t gone particularly well and videos have surfaced showing cars getting into or nearly being involved in low-speed crashes while being driven remotely.
When reached out to by Reuters, the NHTSA said it will not hesitate to act if it feels doing so is necessary.
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“[We are] aware of reports related to Tesla’s Summon feature. We are in ongoing contact with the company and we continue to gather information. Safety is NHTSA’s top priority and the agency will not hesitate to act if it finds evidence of a safety-related defect,” the agency said.
Tesla owners have been able to use a more simplified Summon feature for quite some time, but this system is restricted to moving the vehicle remotely a few feet out of a garage or parking space, for example. Smart Summon can be used as long as the vehicle is in the line of sight of the owner.
In one incident, a Tesla owner can be seen controlling his red Model 3 from the Tesla app, directing it out of a parking space before it crosses down a driveway and almost hits an SUV.