Tesla owners are trying to run themselves over with the summon feature (yes, really)

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The S3XY fleet
Photo: Tesla|Timothy Artman

Leave it to human beings to take something labeled “smart” and use it for something stupid. Tesla’s new “Smart Summon” feature, which allows the electric vehicles to autonomously pick up their owners in parking lots, is pretty cool. Trying to run yourself over with it is not. Although, it does lead to some comical situations. This behavior and other not so smart maneuvers are exactly the types of videos surfacing on YouTube, as Electrek reports.

Here’s what Tesla says about Smart Summon, which is still in the beta phase, in the release notes for its V10 software update:

“Smart Summon is designed to allow your car to drive to you (using your phone’s GPS as a target destination) or a location of your choosing, maneuvering around and stopping for objects as necessary. Like Summon, Smart Summon is only intended for use in private parking lots and driveways. You are still responsible for your car and must monitor it and it’s surroundings at all times within your line of sight because it may not detect all obstacles. Be especially careful around quick-moving people, bicycles, and cars.”

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Not So Smart Summon

In all fairness, some of the videos show people actually trying to test Smart Summon in the surroundings that Tesla outlines. For example, a Tesla M3 owner posted a video to the YouTube account Dirty Tesla. In the video, the owner walks in front of the car as it navigates without a driver. The car stops when he walks in front of it. However, in another clip, the owner walks in through the car’s blind spot and it nearly runs his feet over.

Related: Tesla’s Smart Summon isn’t working as advertised for some owners

Ironically, the owner might need his car to pick him up if he keeps trying to take his toes off. Dirty Tesla seems to have the blessing of Tesla itself, but the company has asked other people that are similarly testing its Autopilot to stop.

Even so, other amateur “testers” take some unnecessary, if not comical, risks and don’t quite follow Tesla’s warnings. One video posted on Twitter shows an M3 nearly crashing into a car turning into a parking lot that appears fairly busy.

As Electrek pointed out, the owner claimed that he let go of the Summon button before a collision occurred. However, he added that he didn’t know if his action stopped the car or if it stopped on its own. Either way, it’s a moot point, as the Tesla was already in the intersection. Thankfully, the other car stopped in time.

In other places, crashes involving Smart Summon have actually happened. Videos posted on David F Guajardo’s Twitter account show Tesla owners testing Smart Summon. As the M3 rounds a corner, a car backing out of a parking spot collides with it. Fortunately, it was only a minor fender bender and no one was hurt.

Get Smart

The owner appeals to social media for legal advice on whether the fender bender was his fault. That in itself probably isn’t a very smart move. One could argue that the crash was the other driver’s fault as the Tesla had the right of way. Then again, the testing went down in a busy parking lot.

The bottom line is, just like with any new technology, people need to proceed with the utmost caution when using it. This is especially true when new technology involves heavy pieces of machinery moving around on their own. Smart Summon is only “smart” if the person operating is being smart. Be smart, people.