We reported the first Tesla Smart Summon accident a few days ago. Abhishek Goswami, the Vice President of Global Technical Services at New Relic, made a tweet telling Tesla and Elon Musk “Enhanced Summon isn’t safe or production-ready.” Now the Tesla Raj YouTube channel released the only video about this new feature that you should see. And it asks viewers for an obvious thing: to be smart with Smart Summon.
Raj, the presenter, starts with the most fundamental piece of info. Not only about Smart Summon but also about Autopilot: both programs are in beta stage. That means they are really not production-ready. They are in a testing stage that looks for bugs and other issues.
Beta tests may imply “data loss” when you are talking about computers. What about a 2-ton “computer on wheels,” as Elon Musk defines Tesla vehicles? Data loss should be the least of the owners’ concerns. You can lose or damage many more things when testing, some of which are beyond recovery. Lives, for example.
That is why the company asks tests to be done only in private parking lots or driveways. It also says you should keep visual contact with the car at all times. But how can Tesla ensure people will do as they are told? That they will not put their vehicles in a busy public parking lot to test their new toys?
Beta testing with a computer poses small dangers compared to the ones a car can represent – even if it is a computer on wheels. What would Justice call it in case it hits a person, a computer, or a car?
Check Goswami’s case. We have tried to contact him, but he has not replied so far. Anyway, we can tell that he has tested the Smart Summon on his driveway, as Tesla advised. Even so, his car “ran into the side of the garage.” He trusted it would perform much better than it actually did.
As Raj states in the video, there are benefits with a lot of people testing Smart Summon. It makes development faster, as it did with Autopilot – which, we must stress, is still betaware. But at what cost?
Tesla made these features widely available. Its disclaimers say it takes no responsibility if you choose to use them. You do, but Tesla benefits from your testing. In the future, other clients will also have a more reliable software. At whose expense?
If you think it through, Tesla is asking you to take responsibility for tests it should perform before putting these features into “production.” In theory, they are not ready. In practice, people think they now have a car that drives towards them by itself. And most are anxious to get it with the V10 update.
In case you think the Smart Summon speeds are too low to cause any sort of damage, think again. Remember how heavy your Tesla is. Goswami’s example shows that it is not correct. You could damage your car, as Raj remembers, but is it really what you should worry about?
The video below is a graphic example that low speeds can be as dangerous as high speeds. We advise you not to watch it if you are sensitive because it is heart-breaking and revolting. Even so, some messages have to be strong to make any useful impression. More than anything, the video's title is a warning.
The video is not related to EVs, Tesla or autonomous cars of any sort. But it shows very low speeds can also be fatal. If you want to know what happened, check this article at ChinaSmack.com.
We hope nothing of this sort ever happens with Smart Summon. It is precisely to avoid it that we are writing about Raj’s video. And begging with him: please, please be smart when using Smart Summon. If you use it at all.
It is your right to test whatever you want and to spend or damage whatever you have in the process. Just remember that you are not entitled to put others in danger because of that.