Tesla’s ‘Smart Summon’ Doesn’t Act So Smart In Parking Lot Incident

Tesla has been criticized in the past for having its owners essentially beta test ais dvanced semi-autonomous driving functions on public roads, and the exact same argument has been made for the recently-introduced ‘Smart Summon’ feature.

The function, rolled out officially in late September, allows owners to operate their Tesla through a smartphone as long as they are within a few hundred feet of it. We’ve seen it used usefully, for example to pick up an owner outside a store during a torrential rainstorm, but for the most part, it has been rather troublesome, prompting Consumer Reports to compare it to a glitchy drunk driver.

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

In this incident featuring a black Model X, the electric crossover can be seen slowly reversing out of a parking space turning and slowly heading towards the driver. However, perhaps because there were no lane markings in the parking lot, the Tesla begins to aggressively veer to the left at the very same moment a black Honda Accord makes a turn in. The Honda driver is forced to slam on the brakes while the owner, of the Tesla appears to let go of the button controlling the Model X, forcing it to a stop. It’s hard to tell from this clip if the two actually made contact with each other.

This isn’t the only incident involving Tesla’s ‘Smart Summon’ feature, as in the days immediately following its release, a number videos of a host of near-misses and at least one crash emerged. In cases the Tesla doesn’t have a run-in with another vehicle, it often crosses into opposing traffic and performs widely unpredictable maneuvers.

Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it will not hesitate to act if it finds evidence of a safety-related defect with the system.


  • Willzyx

    This is such a stupid feature. Truly stupid.

  • Arct1c

    Tesla should have never released a feature that was not fully tested and proven safe.
    Also, are people that lazy that they cannot just walk to their damn car?

    • Mr. EP9

      Yes. And it’s not like a little rain is going to kill them either.

  • drc

    I had a Tesla Model X for a 24 hour extended test drive. What the Autopilot does is look for markings to orientate itself within a space, these are edge markings, stripes, curbs, etc. When it gets to open blacktop, it will seek the center (defined by picking up rows of parked cars as its edges). Definitely a flawed system that really only works well within a relatively narrow set of parameters. But in well-marked highway lanes, it does do quite well.

    In this instance with the other car turning into the area as the Tesla was trying to orientate itself, the result was predictable and what you see in the video. Had the other car been stopped in the aisle, the Tesla would have used it as an edge, but it came in suddenly and the Tesla computer system had no time to compensate.

    • Arct1c

      All I am hearing from your comment is that the Accord is at fault for turning into the area the Tesla was driving because it “came in suddenly.” That’s idiotic – it should always have “time to compensate” no matter what the circumstances are.

      • Hot Twink

        Agree. The Accord is definitely not at fault. At no point does the Accord driver do anything wrong.

        The fault lies with the Tesla (and its owner/operator).

      • drc

        Ummmm…no. I never said the other car was at fault. My assessment is factual, yours is speculative.

        • Arct1c

          “Had the other car been stopped in the aisle, the Tesla would have used it as an edge, but it came in suddenly and the Tesla computer system had no time to compensate.” This is factual? LMAO.

  • db

    No recall yet? Let’s wait until a Tesla hits a lady pushing a baby carriage.

    • Mr. EP9

      Tesla couldn’t afford a recall. They definitely don’t have the space nor the parts to repair affected vehicles so they’d just go for an over the air update and call it a day.

  • Bash

    Tesla is evil. lol

    • Ben

      “Honestly, I didn’t run over my wife, I just summoned my Tesla! You’ve got to believe me officer” Should make for a good episode on a crime show.

  • Cook_diesel

    This feature should never be used in a busy parking lot as it is in beta and still full of bugs. I think I used smart summon 3x in the time that this update has been rolled out because it still needs some work. Furthermore there should be more education around the use cases for which smart summon can be safely deployed.

    • Holmer_k

      It shouldn’t be allowed in public at all yet. No self driving system is,as good as an alert driver and until it is,at least that good, no system should be allowed on public roads.

  • Mr. Big

    Tesla should have called the new feature “Mustang Mode.”

  • TRB0T0Y

    Can’t wait to hear all the Tesla twats try to defend this with their typical ‘do you know how many human drivers wrecked in parking lots that same day!?’
    It is absolutely atrocious that Tesla owners experiment with our time and property like this. The Accord driver should have continued with his right of way and smashed into the Tesla. Sued the owner for damages, whiplash, plus all the time spent getting estimates and lost time doing all the legwork.

  • Kannag Don Amenra

    Seriously, Intelligent Matrix LED headlights aren’t allowed in the USA but this half baked parking system was granted permission?

  • Matteo Tommasi

    I can suggest “Dumb Summon”, someone else went for “Mustang Mode” down here. Let’s help Tesla find an appropriate name to their new function.

  • TheBelltower

    I tried this last week. Yeah, it sucks.

  • Alduin

    Tesla owners are the dumbest people on the planet. Guinea Pigs for punk Elon Musk failed technologies. How lazy do you have to be to have to “summit” your Tesla to you? What you can’t walk out in a parking lot like a normal person and get in your car?

  • Dennis James

    It should have been called “Dumb Summon” during the Beta phase.

  • Paul

    It’s clearly the Tesla’s fault. They have a long way to go before this is faultless it looks like.

  • Gerardo Jiménez

    That’s the problem between autonomous cars sharing road with drivers. Or one, or the other

  • man

    Tesla fail. NHTSA needs to force a recall immediately before it runs over a kid. Not needed for lazy humans.

  • Stephen G

    Looks to me like the Tesla was making a left hand turn (clearly visible before the Honda pulls out) and the Honda driver cut it off.

    • Crash Bandicoot

      No. The Honda driver had the right of way even if the Tesla was pulling into a spot it would have to yield while making a left turn into the spot across the traffic lane.

    • TRB0T0Y

      How about you remove Elon’s testes from your mouth before commenting.
      The Tesla was ‘centering’ itself to drive like an entitled douche, straight up the middle of two-way traffic to the owner on the sidewalk. You think the Accord cut off the Telsa?! Adjust your meds, stat.

      • Stephen G

        You sound like a very stable genius. How could I be so wrong and have a different point of view than you?

        • TRB0T0Y

          Maybe it’s Maybelline?

          • Stephen G

            Clearly. The more the better I’m sure.

    • Nick G

      A left hand turn to where, exactly?

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