Consumer Reports recently analyzed Tesla’s new Smart Summon feature and determined that the firm still has a “long way to go to get to ‘Full Self-Driving,'” also falling far short of Elon Musk’s marketing hype.
A recent report from Consumer Reports titled “Tesla’s Smart Summon Performance Doesn’t Match Marketing Hype,” outlines some of the many issues that the publication found with Tesla’s new Smart Summon feature which is designed to have a Tesla owners vehicle drive directly to them at the touch of a button.
Consumer Reports tested the feature over several days at its Auto Test Center in Colchester, Connecticut, and in parking lots nearby. The firm stated that the test comes shortly after a number of social media posts that were critical of the feature. Tesla has claimed that Smart Summon is just one of the first products in a suite of technologies that the firm is marketing as “Full Self-Driving.”
CR‘s senior director of Auto Testing Jake Fisher stated that the feature is more of a beta test than a fully working product. “What consumers are really getting is the chance to participate in a kind of science experiment,” he says. “This is a work in progress.”
CR‘s report states:
But we found that the system works only intermittently, depending on the car’s reading of the surroundings. The system is designed to work only in private parking lots, but sometimes it seemed confused about where it was. In one case, the system worked in one section of a private lot, but in another part of the lot it mistakenly detected that it was on a public road and shut itself down. At various times, our Model 3 would suddenly stop for no obvious reason.
When it did work, the Model 3 appeared to move cautiously, which could be a positive from a safety perspective. But it also meant the vehicle took a long time to reach its driver. The Model 3 also didn’t always stay on its side of the lane in the parking lots.
Over several days, CR repeatedly has asked Tesla for comment. CR has called the company and also emailed multiple written questions asking about the Smart Summon technology. The company hasn’t yet returned our calls or responded to our questions.
Ethan Douglas, a senior policy analyst at Consumer Reports in Washington, D.C. commented on the feature stating: “Tesla once again is promising ‘full self-driving’ but delivering far less, and now we’re seeing collisions. Tesla should stop beta-testing its cars on the general public by pushing out experimental features before they’re ready.”
CR states in its report:
Asked for comment, NHTSA said it’s aware of the accounts of safety concerns related to Smart Summon. The agency said that it has ongoing contact with the company and that it will continue to gather information. Consumers are encouraged to report any concerns on the NHTSA complaint database, which regulators use to track potential safety defects.