The fourth iteration of Tesla’s Smart Summon feature has begun rolling out to Early Access Program participants, demonstrating the continued development of capabilities that allow drivers to operate their all-electric cars through the Tesla mobile app, specifically by having them autonomously travel to their location. As seen in a recent video demonstrating the program (previously ‘Enhanced Summon’) in action, some notable improvements have been made over the last release, particularly in vehicle confidence and movement execution.
Utilizing the latest version of Smart Summon, a deep blue metallic Model 3 is seen navigating from various parking spaces to selected point locations in a demo posted by YouTube channel, ALL Electric. When exiting each parking spot, the all-electric vehicle seems confident while reversing, and there seems to be an increase in the car’s speed as it executes the Summon command over the prior versions. Another particularly interesting part of the demonstration was the vehicle’s response to the transition from asphalt to brick in its driving path, something which caused the feature to pause and assess the locations of the actual curbs vs. the perceived curbs based on color variations.
Smart Summon’s primary appeal to customers is geared towards parking lot navigation. CEO Elon Musk has ambitious plans for the feature, and has previously stated that a Tesla “should be able to drive around a parking lot, find an empty spot, read signs to confirm it’s valid & park.” However, although a wide release of Smart Summon is coming with Tesla’s upcoming Version 10 firmware update, self-parking looks to still be a ways off yet. This is not surprising given Musk’s previous explanations of the feature’s fine-tuning challenges that are still underway as seen in ALL Electric‘s demo.
“Yeah, we’ve been working on curbs a *lot*. Concrete seams too. So glamorous,” Musk tweeted in response to an update request for the newest Summon at the end of June. When asked what the most difficult part about concrete was, Musk replied, “Excessive shades of grey.” The CEO also jokingly noted that curbs with high contrast were his ‘favorite’. The latest update to Smart Summon demonstrated this particular challenge where the parking lot composition changed, although it was able to determine its drivability after a pause for assessment.
Along with parking lot mobility, Smart Summon already allows Tesla owners with early access to “walk” their cars like a pet by holding down the Summon button on the Tesla app. Musk also promised eventual remote control car capability as well. “Also, you’ll be able to drive it from your phone remotely like a big RC car if in line of sight,” he tweeted in November last year.
Tesla’s V10 firmware, which will also include improvements to Autopilot and WiFi streaming of Netflix and YouTube videos, is estimated to be released later this month. After the company’s Early Access Program results are assessed and addressed, a wide release of the new firmware will follow. “Depends on how release to owners with early access goes, but hopefully wide release by end of August,” Musk replied on Twitter to a question about V10’s availability at the end of last month.
Despite the full promise of the Smart Summon feature yet to be realized, its overall functionality is a remarkable improvement over the current Summon feature which only allows straight-line driving for a maximum of 150 feet.
Watch the latest Enhanced Summon demonstration video below: