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.
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.