The first accident with Tesla Smart Summon we have reported may not be the very first. At least according to an article from Automotive News, which shows earlier tweets of incidents with the feature. They made NHTSA step in and say it is collecting data to see if it poses a safety risk or not.
Gallery: NHTSA Promises To Intervene If Smart Summon Poses Safety Risks
According to Automotive News, NHTSA declared it “is aware of reports related to Tesla’s Summon feature.” The agency also said it “will not hesitate to act if it finds evidence of a safety-related defect."
The definition of a “safety-related defect” may prevent any action from NHTSA. Mostly because Smart Summon is not production-ready. If it was, then it could have a defect. As a video from Tesla Raj clarified, Smart Summon is in beta testing. This process aims precisely to suppress safety hazards with trials to see where the software fails.
The question is: Should regular customers conduct these tests? If you talk about computers, that is normally accepted, but what about “computers on wheels?”
Will NHTSA incorporate that computer praxis or treat Tesla cars as such? If it does, it may prevent Tesla from doing any beta tests with its clients. NHTSA has not done so with Autopilot, which remains a betaware.
“We don’t know yet how these features will work in some circumstances. Tesla continues to beta test on live human beings who have not agreed to be a part of this experiment and that is dangerous,” Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, told Automotive News.
The “not agreed” part of his statement is bound to controversy. Tesla has a disclaimer that warns about the risks, and that probably asks for the car owner to agree with it before using the feature. That is how the company “insulates from liability,” as Levine stated.
The news about this is that NHTSA promised to take action. We just need to see how and when. “We are in ongoing contact with the company, and we continue to gather information," the US safety regulator declared. We wish it better luck getting answers from Tesla than we had in multiple stories. Or Automotive News. Or the press in general.
Source: Automotive News