A gathering of Tesla Model 3, Model S, and Model X owners from the official Tesla Owners of Silicon Valley Club got together over the weekend for a Cars and Coffee event to foster camaraderie in the community. But the biggest highlight of the day, outside of a Frunk N Swap activity wherein club members exchanged popular accessories and personal items from their vehicle’s front trunk, was a group Smart Summon activity that simulated an autonomous valet service of the future.
Roughly 80 Tesla owners and enthusiasts met up at the Cherry Avenue Supercharger in San Jose, CA on Sunday to share personal stories of electric vehicle ownership and to build friendships with local Tesla owners.
Club member Arash Malek, who goes by the handle @minimalduck on Twitter, gathered fellow members and came up with the idea of a ‘group Smart Summon’ with their Model 3s as a showcase of how Tesla’s latest autonomous vehicle retrieval feature works in a real-world scenario.
“The Smart Summon went very well and the cars did not stop as much as some had anticipated. The technology feels like it has come a long way since its initial release. Afterward, a lot more members felt encouraged and better about the technology,” Tesla Owners Club of Silicon Valley founder and president John Stringer tells Teslarati.
Got @tesla’s for days. So much demand in one spot. Love this community. Thankful to @elonmusk @tesla for creating this. pic.twitter.com/gyPwPzEB0r
— Tesla Owners Silicon Valley (@teslaownersSV) January 26, 2020
“To be able to summon your car to yourself is one step closer to autonomous driving. At some point, your car will be able to come to you no matter where you are and no matter what floor you are on. It will be a normal thing to see a car without someone in it,” added Stringer.
Smart Summon is available to customers who purchased Full Self-Driving Capability or Enhanced Autopilot. With this feature, one can enable their Teslas to go to them or to a destination of choice from a parking spot that’s within their line of sight. It is a pretty handy and convenient feature for those who might be coming out of grocery stores, those dealing with a fussy child, or for those who opt not to walk to the parking lot for whatever reason.
In the future, what members of the Tesla Owners Club of Silicon Valley did over the weekend can be applied to autonomous valet services at hotels, airports, or other venues where such technology can be used. It is an initial step to how Tesla’s future Robotaxi service would operate in the future. Passenger can be given temporary access codes to Summon a vehicle to pick them up for a ride or perhaps valet services will have a dispatch system to deliver rides to waiting customers.
Tesla owners can only expect the Elon Musk-led electric carmaker to further improve the Smart Summon feature overtime. A Tesla Model 3 owner subjected their vehicle to an obstacle course and saw results that made them believe that Tesla is on its way to perfecting the technology for self-driving cars. With the confidence that it can also perform well outside the United States where road markings and signs may be different, Tesla expanded its release of Smart Summon to other markets including China.
Check out the drone video from @MinimalDuck, capturing fellow Tesla Owners of Silicon Valley club members Smart Summoning their Model 3s together.