Tesla Smart Summon is life-changing for drivers with mobility problems

Tesla Smart Summon in action. (Credit: Rody Davis/YouTube)

Tesla’s Smart Summon has been teased by CEO Elon Musk for some time, and now that it’s being rolled out with the V10 Update, the feature is pretty much meeting or even exceeding the community’s expectations. While the previous iteration of Summon has been dubbed as a neat “party trick” that has relatively few real-world uses, Smart Summon has the potential to positively impact the lives of electric car owners, particularly those who have issues with mobility. 

Parking lots could be annoying for everyday drivers, particularly those in areas that tend to be busy (or tend to have drivers who park inconsiderately) such as a grocery store or a mall. During instances when the weather is not cooperating, for example, retrieving a car from a parking lot could be a headache. Not only do drivers have to walk through rain or snow (among others), but they would also have to squeeze themselves in between vehicles and contort themselves as necessary just to get in the driver’s seat. 

For a regular driver, these instances are at times enough to incite some sighs of frustration (or a few well-deserved swear words for that matter). But for individuals with mobility issues, getting to a car in a crowded parking lot, even in good weather, could be a painful challenge. Tesla community member u/MasterK999 from the r/TeslaMotors subreddit, a cancer survivor who has experienced mobility problems after surgeries, stated that issues could arise even in parking spots that may look convenient to the layman.

This, according to the r/TeslaMotors member, could result in inconvenient circumstances, such as relying on the kindness of strangers to back up his car enough so that he could get in without pain or difficulty. Features such as Smart Summon addresses these difficulties, as he could simply direct the vehicle to a target location that could provide him with easy access to the driver’s seat. 

What is quite encouraging is that Smart Summon is but a part of the features that comprise Tesla’s Full Self-Driving suite, a series of functions that allow a vehicle to operate on its own without driver input. With each new FSD feature that Tesla adds to its electric cars, the company gets a little bit closer towards giving the gift of mobility to everyone, including individuals who, for one reason or another, are unable to physically operate a vehicle on their own. 

The upcoming advantages of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving initiatives were outlined by fellow r/TeslaMotors subreddit member u/Teeklin, who suffers from chronic health issues. While not a Tesla owner yet, the EV enthusiast stated that the emergence of the electric car maker’s Full Self-Driving features be life-changing for him and his wife, who also suffers from a chronic illness.

“A Tesla isn’t just a gimmick, when we can finally afford one and the self-driving is totally automated it will be a lifesaver. Right now, it’s hard to get to a store 5 minutes away a couple (of) times a week, much less visit friends and family or go someplace in the city. It’s isolating and makes the health problems that much worse. Having the ability to be driven by your vehicle to where you need to go when you’re not feeling well enough to drive yourself will improve our quality of life immensely,” he wrote.  

For this alone, Tesla and most especially its Full Self-Driving team deserve some credit. As for Summon, what was once a “party trick” has definitely turned into something far more with the V10 Update.

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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