Your Tesla Will Park Itself Better Than You Could
Updates to the new "Summon" feature could save bumpers and even lives.
Elon Musk really, really doesn’t want you to park your own car. Last month, the Tesla founder and CEO announced that the Model S and Model X versions of his zero-emissions supercars would receive the “Summon” function, allowing owners (we won’t be able to call ourselves “drivers”) to call their cars out from garages at the press of a button.
In a blog post today, Tesla announced that the Summon feature is only getting better, now allowing the vehicle to perform fine-tuned maneuvers in tight spaces and in reverse, relying on its ultrasonic sensors to perform better than the human eye, especially when the driver is outside the car with a “direct line of sight.”
Basically, Tesla is letting you get out and help your buddy parallel park, something humans have been doing for decades, except now your buddy is a semi-autonomous robot car designed by a guy who wants to live on Mars.
Tesla hopes that the new Summon software will help cut down on human error accidents that frequently happen in reverse, citing a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey that found cars backing up caused over 900 deaths and 52,000 injuries from 2008-2011 in the U.S. alone.
The latest blog post also said Summon functions could be used to get Tesla vehicles into tighter parking and storage spaces. Their idea is for occupants to get out first, allowing the car to squeeze into a space where the doors are inaccessible. In theory, this sounds efficient, but Tesla does not address how annoying it might be to return to your non-Summonable vehicle to find it sandwiched between two gleaming future-mobiles with no room to open the doors.