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Dial ‘M’ for Mobility: When Your Phone Becomes the Steering Wheel

  • Magazine Article
  • 19AVEP11_10
Published November 01, 2019 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Tesla's controversial new Smart Summon feature raises plenty of legal-liability and regulatory questions.

Those with a passion for automated-vehicle innovations found much to entertain them on YouTube and Twitter during late September and early October this year. The big attraction was videos from Tesla owners, detractors and supporters showcasing the company's newest driver-assistance feature, called Smart Summon. Issued in an over-the-air software update, version 10.0, Smart Summon allows the owner to remotely pilot a parked vehicle to their location with the power of their finger.

On its website, Tesla describes Smart Summon as allowing “your car to drive to you or a location of your choosing, maneuvering around and stopping for objects as necessary. Smart Summon works with your Tesla app and your phone's GPS to operate. You must be within approximately 200 feet (61 meters) of your car. Like Summon, Smart Summon is only intended for use in private parking lots and driveways. You are still responsible for your car and must monitor it and its surroundings at all times and be within your line of sight because it may not detect all obstacles. Be especially careful around quick-moving people, bicycles and cars.”