Tesla's Autopilot Now Summons Car, But Curbs Driver's Speed - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Software

Tesla's Autopilot Now Summons Car, But Curbs Driver's Speed

Tesla's most recent software update aims to allow drivers of its high-end electric vehicles to summon their vehicle from their garage, but also would restrict their speed.

Google, Tesla, Nissan: 6 Self-Driving Vehicles Cruising Our Way
Google, Tesla, Nissan: 6 Self-Driving Vehicles Cruising Our Way
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Tesla Motors delivered a software update over the weekend that's designed to allow owners of its high-end electric vehicles equipped with autopilot features to park their cars via remote, but it also restricts their speed on residential streets and roads without center dividers.

Under its Tesla version 7.1 software update, the company launched an autopark feature called Summon. The Summon beta is designed to allow Model S drivers to park their vehicle or retrieve it remotely, within 33 feet of its final parking destination, according to Tesla's 7.1 software release notes.

"Using Summon, once you arrive home and exit Model S or Model X, you can prompt it to do the rest: open your garage door, enter your garage, park itself, and shut down," Tesla said in its blog post. "In the morning, you walk up, walk out the front door, and summon your car."

(Image: Tesla Motors)

(Image: Tesla Motors)

It's interesting to note that Tesla advises beta testers to use Summon on private property as they become more familiar with this feature. For now, that may take the worry away from working parking attendants.

Perhaps more fantastical, Tesla stated that eventually it aims to have its autopilot-equipped vehicles to be able to "drive anywhere across the country to meet you, charging itself along the way. It will synch with your calendar to know exactly when to arrive," according to Tesla's blog post. The company's CEO Elon Musk predicted this capability may be available in Summon in the next two years, according to a Reuters report.

In addition to the Summon beta, the 7.1 update also brings new safety restrictions to Tesla's Autosteer. Model S drivers traveling on roads in residential areas or ones that lack a center divider will be prohibited from driving faster than 5 mph above the speed limit, according to the software release notes.

"When entering such a restricted road, Model S will reduce its speed if necessary and will do so even if you increase the cruise control set speed," the notes advise. While this may mean it takes lead-foot drivers longer to get to their destination, at least they will likely get there without a speeding ticket.

The move to reduce a vehicle's speed follows comments that Musk made during the company's third quarter earnings call, when the topic of the Autopilot hardware was raised.

[Read Ford Testing Autonomous Vehicles in Snow.]

"There's been some fairly crazy videos on YouTube ... this is not good," Musk said, according to a copy of the conference call transcript posted on Seeking Alpha. "And we will be putting some additional constraints on when Autopilot can be activated to minimize the possibility of people doing crazy things with it."

Some of that crazy activity, according to a BRG Media post, included drivers taking their hands off the steering wheel to record video to traveling at speeds of 75 mph in a 60 mph zone.

For what it's worth, however, Musk stated in the earnings call that roughly a million miles are traveled per day with cars that have Tesla's autopilot feature, which has been available since October.

"We're aware of many accidents that were prevented from Autopilot, and we're not aware of any that were caused by Autopilot. But this is still early, but it's a good indication. So it appears to be quite beneficial from a safety standpoint," Musk said in the earnings call.

**Elite 100 2016: DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JAN. 15, 2016** There's still time to be a part of the prestigious InformationWeek Elite 100! Submit your company's application by Jan. 15, 2016. You'll find instructions and a submission form here: InformationWeek's Elite 100 2016.

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

News
Pandemic Responses Make Room for More Data Opportunities
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/4/2021
Slideshows
10 Things Your Artificial Intelligence Initiative Needs to Succeed
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/20/2021
News
Transformation, Disruption, and Gender Diversity in Tech
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  5/6/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll