Tesla Updates Summon Mode With New Choose Direction Feature

2 years ago by Steven Loveday 31

Tesla Model S Impacts Trailer (via KSL)

Tesla Model S Impacts Trailer. Was Summon Mode engaged? (via KSL)

Recently, a Tesla Model S crashed into a trailer while the user was engaging the Autopilot’s Summon Mode. The incident generated a myriad of press. Tesla assured everyone that the driver was to blame, and even provided proof through the use of system logs. However, Tesla is now adding an additional step to the Summon process that would have made an accident of this type an impossibility.

New Summon Features

Tesla Summon Mode

In a recent accident, the Tesla owner confirmed that he parked his car behind a trailer. He reported that after leaving the vehicle, it moved forward “on its own” and hit the trailer.

Tesla checked logs and found that the driver had activated Summon Mode prior to leaving the vehicle. The Summon Mode can be activated with one step, using the parking stalk. The company stated that he should have stayed with the vehicle until it was finished parking, to stop it if necessary. The Tesla owner denied using Summon Mode, but the logs clearly show that it was engaged at the time of the crash.

With the new update, which will be installed “over the air” by Tesla, the user will have to initiate a two-step process if Summon Mode is engaged via the parking stalk. This way, a driver would have a more difficult time accidentally setting the car to Summon, or proving the fact that it wasn’t “user initiated”. Step one would be to engage Summon Mode as usual, and Step two would make the user choose a direction of travel on the car’s touchscreen.

The question is . . . Did Tesla add the second step in response to the recent crash? Nevertheless, the company is again taking action to assure additional safety. The “over the air” update capability makes it so that Tesla can complete these changes over multiple cars at once, without the vehicles having to be taken in for service. It is only expected that there will be continuous updates, due to this technology.

Source: Imgur via Tesla Updates

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31 responses to "Tesla Updates Summon Mode With New Choose Direction Feature"

  1. Four Electrics says:

    A bit off topic, but: I can only assume that in the far, far future, software updates like these will need to be approved by a regulatory agency before they go out. Is there an existing legal framework to ensure the quality of OTA updates, or any automobile update, for that matter?

    1. Will Davis says:

      Maybe in America such a thing would be necessary. Your government LOVES to control EVERYTHING.

      1. pjwood1 says:

        It’s not our government. It’s electric drive, as perceived from Musk to Mercedes. If people’s attitudes are we shouldn’t do the driving, the laws preventing it won’t even be necessary.

        1. Martin Winlow says:

          What electricity got to do with it? Do you mean ‘autonomous driving’?

      2. evcarnuts says:

        By adding this TESLA is admitting they’re wrong which they are!,& should At the very least repair that car! That accident should have Never happened.had Tesla done this from the get GO!!..

        1. jelloslug says:

          They are admitting nothing. All they are doing is adding an extra step for the stupid people.

        2. Speculawyer says:

          Yeah, this admits nothing.

          Especially in a legal sense. You can’t bring in changes as evidence that something was defective since that would incentivize companies to not repair things that may be a little faulty.

        3. Martin Winlow says:

          Please don’t be silly! The whole thing happened in the first place only because of this very unusual parking situation where the car’s sensors couldn’t see the trailer over-hang because it was way too high. Had it been any other parked vehicle, there would not have been an issue.

        4. EVGuy says:

          Yea, we should all pay a premium in cost to re engineer and design in safety mechanisms for every possible stupid mistake someone may make. All the more reason to make the car completely autonomous, remove the human element and be done with this nonsense of trying to out guess what stupid thing the next person will try and do. Meanwhile, we the early adopters, will pay the added premium for doing so.

    2. Nick says:

      That’s obviously a double edged sword.

      Software on medical devices for example is produced much more slowly, but seems to be of high quality.

      Software on safety critical systems in cars is sometimes abysmal:
      http://www.safetyresearch.net/blog/articles/toyota-unintended-acceleration-and-big-bowl-%E2%80%9Cspaghetti%E2%80%9D-code

      1. kdawg says:

        I have to deal with “spaghetti code” all the time when working with Japanese programs. I don’t know if this is specific to Japan or not, but just my experience.

    3. evcarnuts says:

      Don’t We already Have TOO much GOVERNMENT ???What’s wrong With You!!!

      1. Paul Stoller says:

        I wouldn’t say it’s so much a matter of too much or too little. We have areas where both statements are true.

    4. beta995 says:

      If US regulatory agency’s weren’t already under economic “Regulatory Capture”, the fracking industry would be dead.

    5. Jim Whitehead says:

      Why do you assume government permission will be required to do everything in the future; including permission to use the bathroom?

      Have you forgotten, we only have 7 months of suffering left (on illegal decrees like allowing men to visit girls bathrooms) before lame duck Obama loses office and then most of his rule by decree garbage will be repealed or overturned in the new Supreme Court.

      1. alohart says:

        … by President Trump?! That’s when the real suffering would begin. Fortunately, U.S. voters are smarter than that … or are they?

        1. drpawansharma says:

          Have you forgotten ten years of Bush?

        2. Jacked Beanstalk says:

          It’s not just the US voters…Hillary is a terribly weak and odious candidate. I consider myself a progressive and the thought of voting for her makes me throw up a little in my mouth.

      2. kdawg says:

        Apparently in North Carolina they are trying to regulate the bathrooms.

  2. MTN Ranger says:

    I really see two issues here: 1. the UI for the summon needs a confirmation button (appears to be addressed in the update), 2. additional sensors for objects that are not on the ground, in this case the elevated trailer materials.

  3. Kosh says:

    And I’d imagine the insurance companies will get involved too.

  4. Trollnonymous says:

    Does the OTA fix the fact it can’t see the bigass truck in front of it?

    1. As I have said before, it looks like the Tesla was parked actually in front of the trailer and its overhanging load, but facing the wrong direction for parking on that side of the street, based on the other vehicle he included in the accident photo.

      While driving, he would unlikely put his vehicle in such a place, at least I, and I expect most people, would not follow closely behind vehicles with long overhangs, like roll-on, roll-off trucks, etc.

      So it seems he was not exactly focused on safety, but rather, on expediency! As such, It is highly logical that he was not noticing the finer points of his various actions.

      /armchair investigation

      1. Speculawyer says:

        GOOD POINT! I think he technically did an illegal parking job and he could get a ticket for that!

      2. Jacked Beanstalk says:

        The fact remains that the Tesla lacks the proper sensor arrays for autonomous parking. This isn’t the first example of a half-baked summons mode, either. CR discovered that a Tesla could be summoned to roll over a duffle bag placed in front of the car, which could easily have been a small child or pet.

        Actually I find the Summons mode to be completely ludicrous. If you have to babysit the car after summoning it then why not just drive the damn thing where you want it to go? It’s a dangerous and impractical feature at this stage of development and Tesla are wrong to use their customers as alpha testers.

        1. Speculawyer says:

          I have no idea if they do this or not but perhaps there are infrared detectors that would detected a living warm-blooded creature and thus prevent such a problem.

  5. Jacked Beanstalk says:

    I’d like to propose a challenging new idea. Since the driver must activate “summons” from the driver’s seat and then select the direction of travel on the touchscreen, might it not be easier for the driver to simply remain in the driver’s seat and drive the car where he wishes it to be?

    Too radical?

    1. Brian says:

      What about a narrow parking space or garage where you wouldnt be able to open the door and get out? You stop in front of the garage, activate summon, get out, and let it park itself.

  6. Loboc says:

    This OTA thing will eventually bite Tesla where it hurts.

    One can imagine a buggy update going out and disabling a million vehicles at once! McAfee and Microsoft do it. Why not Tesla?

    1. Speculawyer says:

      Yeah, they REALLY got to be careful.

      Especially as the variety of Tesla cars multiply.

      Some new patch may work great in most cars but some Rev 3.4.24.4523 version chocks.

    2. Brian says:

      The difference is with a computer program, it could be running on a PC with a million possible combinations of hardware, and other software that could conflict.

      With a car, theres a limited number of configurations they need to do QC for, all of which they have access to, and the entire software is coded by them. Much easier to prevent bugs and conflicts when you have control over the entire ecosystem.