Tesla last month rolled out a new autonomous driving feature as part of version 7.1 of its Model S software. When activated, the Summon feature enables owners to park and retrieve their electric cars without having to be inside of it.
One publication described it as remote start on steroids while another found a serious issue with how it works, ultimately prompting a modification from Tesla.
As Consumer Reports notes, Summon was originally designed to operate using the car's key fob or via the Tesla smartphone app. In testing, however, the publication found that users may not be able to stop the car right away in the event of a sudden emergency (if they dropped the key fob, for example). They also found that if they exited the Tesla app on an iPhone 6s while it was in motion, the car would continue to move.
Despite multiple fail-safes including sensors to detect obstacles in its path and the ability to stop the car by touching a door handle, the potential for an accident still exists. That's why Tesla has reworked the Summon feature and will soon limit its use to the smartphone app. The key fob will be able to stop the car but not drive it. In the app, users will have to keep their finger on the screen for the feature to work (letting go of the onscreen button would stop the car).
Consumer Reports says the revised functionality will be deployed this week.