NHTSA Looking Into Crashes Related To Tesla’s ‘Smart Summon’ Feature

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.

Also Read: Tesla’s Smart Summon Feature Appears Pretty Dumb, Users Already Reporting Accidents

When reached out to by Reuters, the NHTSA said it will not hesitate to act if it feels doing so is necessary.

“[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.

  • thejohnnycanuck

    I wouldn’t bother if I were the NHTSA.

    A good old fashioned class action lawsuit should take care of the problem.

    • Jason Miller

      Because taking people’s money always solves the problem.

  • EyalN

    Hi NHTSA people.

    Check why Tesla are saying they have autonomous system in their cars.
    They don’t have it, Nissan Rogue got a better system

  • Mr. EP9

    Unsurprising.

  • Ben

    Like I’ve been saying, Tesla’s autonomous technology is not more advanced than what its competition is able to produce, but more willing to implement it when others would be wary. A small business needs to present every advantage it has and in this case, Tesla is willing to take the risk of rolling out spotty technology. When it works it looks wonderfully futuristic and when it fails it looks like an incredible bad idea. However, do not be fooled into believing Tesla is more capable and advanced than larger companies, its just what they’re willing to implement.

    The concept will clearly be in our future, but its clear there are more issues to iron out before it can be used reliably and actually be of significant convenience.

    • Jason Miller

      However, do not be fooled into believing Tesla is more capable and advanced than larger companies,

      Yeah, and you know this with 100% certainty.

      • Ben

        With components used in current on road vehicles being similar, we could have an educated guess. Of course, nobody would know for certain outside of the company, as giving out top secret projects is bad for business. We do know many manufactures had participated in events that have utilized large sensor arrays to achieve a level of autonomous driving nearly a decade ago.

        Lastly, many automakers are pulling technology and software from off the shelf from third parties such as Bosch and adapting it to their vehicles. These large corporations spend millions daily developing further R/D and autonomous vehicles are not a new idea. There’s been significant development in the field.

        • TheBelltower

          Just because other automakers were first and are more established doesn’t provide them with an absolute advantage. Just look at Yahoo, AOL and Friendster.

          Tesla has established themselves in a way that makes them more nimble than other automakers. They are capturing more data in real-time that helps them refine almost every aspect of their vehicles. None of this could have been done with conventional automotive suppliers or a conventional sales/service structure. Of course this doesn’t ensure Tesla’s success, but other automakers are sure hustling to capture some of the consumer enthusiasm that Tesla has generated.

          • Ben

            I understand what you’re saying about being first doesn’t always mean being the best and that’s true. However in certain industries, that premise can vary. How long has companies such as Ford and Mercedes been around?

            There is much more volatility in internet based businesses than the automotive industry primarily due to extremely low barriers of entry. I don’t want to take credit away from where it is due, but it seems Tesla is able to do and get away with certain things because of their size that a more established brand would be crucified for.

            Established brands are expected to be steady, while Tesla is assumed to have growing pains as they incorporate new technology. Just how startups are able to be bullish and take left turns on a dime while Intel could not even if they wanted to.

          • TheBelltower

            I completely agree. Tesla is also able to do what other automakers can’t because they aren’t structured the same or carrying the same baggage of 100 year old companies. To many, Tesla is viewed as a tech company… or a the very least, a tech-forward car brand. They are given a pass because they don’t have a history of ruptured gas tank coverups like Ford, sudden acceleration coverups like Toyota, Takata airbag coverups like Honda or the diesel fiasco by VW. Conversely, Tesla is a very transparent company. For better or worse, Musk very chatty on twitter, and the responsiveness and frequent OTA updates give the impression that the company is very agile and iterating and improving extremely fast. Features like a holiday light show or farting seats show a level of irreverence that you’d never see anywhere else. To keep the goodwill that they’ve earned, they’ll need to maintain this. It’s a culture that would be impossible today at other brands which are compelled to be much more cautious.

  • Alduin

    How is this even remotely legal?

    • Ben

      Pun intended?

      • Alduin

        I see what you did there! 👍

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