Tesla’s Smart Summon feature is not smart enough to stay in its own lane

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November 08, 2019 09:30 AM

Tesla’s Smart Summon feature is not smart enough to stay in its own lane

Recent glimpses of our autonomous future provided by Tesla’s Smart Summon are … not encouraging.

Jay Ramey

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It didn’t take long for Tesla’s Smart Summon feature — the app-based piece of autonomous tech that allows owners who cannot be bothered to walk to their car have it automatically drive to them — to create some unsafe situations in crowded parking lots. It seems one of the issues that the Smart Summon feature has, if this video from Richmond, British Columbia, is any indication, is that Tesla models equipped with it cannot read road markings very well to determine which lane they’re driving in.
Of course, this is not the manner in which Smart Summon is supposed to be used in the first place. For one thing, the owner needs to have the car in his or her line of sight. And it’s probably not a good idea to use it in parking lots where there are multiple turns that the car has to make, and multiple travel lanes marked by yellow lines.
If you watch the very first seconds of the video, it appears that the car is entering the parking lot from an actual road, which is another thing owners are not supposed to do with Smart Summon.
One problem that seems apparent here is that we can’t tell where the owner is in relation to the car, and the owner is not apparent to the person filming it either. Another problem is that the Tesla also seems unsure of where the owner is as well, and it stops randomly in a busy parking lot before entering a parking structure.

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We hope that the car and the owner were eventually reunited — everyone loves a heartwarming story, especially right before the holidays — but this seems like a good demonstration of an environment where owners should never use Smart Summon. To be fair (to the car), it never seemed to reach a speed high enough to cause much mayhem, and this seems more of an owner problem than an autonomous technology problem.
But would you take a chance using this technology, which was rolled out just a couple of months ago, to “summon” your car from somewhere deep in the parking lot to the front of the store? In other words, would you trust it to not hit other cars, cause a rear-end collision by braking randomly, stray into oncoming traffic or run somebody over? 
Some owners clearly place more trust in autonomous technology than we do because there are some potential liability issues that we see here.

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Source:https://autoweek.com/article/autonomous-cars/teslas-smart-summon-feature-not-smart-enough-stay-its-own-lane

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