Tesla promises (Part II of II)
- November 2, 2019
- About Car, About Warranty, Extended Auto Warranty
- Posted by Derek Michael Weissman
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Digging a bit deeper on the (web) Tesla page, Smart Summon is to be used when the driver is within 200 feet of the car. It is only intended to be used in private parking lots (supermarket, mall, etc) and driveways. It is the driver’s responsibility to monitor the situation and make sure the car is always in a direct line of sight. There is a part in bold on the page that makes it clear the car might not always detect all obstacles, which include other cars and people in close vicinity.
This last part is particularly disturbing, considering the potential ramifications of a Smart Summon Tesla running over someone. Consumer Reports jumped into the mix, testing the software out and concluding, “the automation was glitchy and at times worked intermittently, without a lot of obvious benefits for consumers.” In a nutshell, a waste of time. There was one instance in the Consumer Reports test where the testing person had to run out to the car and physically drive it because it was not responding.
Despite all this Musk is still bullish on self-driving plans. He has moved the date up (understandably so) to 2020, and prefaces self-driving being contingent on regulatory approval. To remind our loyal readers, there are five levels of vehicle autonomy. Level 5 means “full self-driving under all conditions: the vehicle can operate without a human driver or occupants.” Level 4 rather is self-driving under certain conditions, and level 3 is limited self-driving. It would appear what Smart Summon has achieved is more in line with Level 3 and 4 for now.
It is helpful to keep in mind that Tesla also employs an Autopilot feature, but this is a hands-on driver assistance system and only intended to be used with a fully attentive driver. In fact, the system always prompts the driver to keep their hands on the steering wheel and maintain control and responsibility for the car. Things that can compromise Tesla’s Autopilot are bright lights (oncoming cars at night), snow, mud, ice, obstruction of objects such as bike racks mounted on the car, etc.
In summary, Musk is confident (or he’s a fantastic liar), but we should by now take these proclamations with more than a few grains of salt. There is much work to be done here and while we praise the effort, it can be dangerous communicating what you think you can do or achieve when the product has no chance of even getting close. But where’s the fun in that!
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