Tesla’s highly-anticipated update for its Summon feature has been approved by regulators. In a recent update on Twitter, Elon Musk noted that Advanced Summon — a set of new features and capabilities that allow drivers to operate their vehicle through the Tesla mobile app — is “almost ready” for release, considering that regulators’ approval has been secured.
Musk, though, is yet to provide additional details as to which regulators have issued approvals for the Advanced Summon updates. Earlier this month, Musk noted in a Twitter session that the upcoming Advanced Summon features would likely not be available in all regions due to “some regulatory pushback.” Thus, when Advanced Summon does get released, there is a pretty good chance that some capabilities, such as the highly-anticipated “remote control mode,” would not be accessible to all regions.
Almost ready to roll out. Regulators just approved.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 22, 2019
Some of the upcoming Advanced Summon features have already been teased by Elon Musk on Twitter. Back in November, the Tesla CEO hinted at a number of new functionalities, including a fun capability that allows vehicles to follow drivers “like a pet” and a “remote control mode” that allows drivers to operate their vehicle like a large RC car. Musk also teased a capability that would enable cars to drive to the location of their owners’ phone.
While these Advanced Summon features hinted by Elon Musk seem like a simple set of fun and functional updates, the upcoming improvements could actually be a notable step towards a complete revamp of the convenience feature. Last October, Musk stated that unlike the current version of Summon, which uses the vehicles’ ultrasonic sensors, “New Summon” would start utilizing data from Autopilot cameras instead.
For those unfamiliar, this uses Tesla Autopark/Summon. Slightly smarter version hopefully ready soon. By next year, a Tesla should be able to drive around a parking lot, find an empty spot, read signs to confirm it’s valid & park.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 31, 2018
Elon Musk has ambitious ideas for Summon. For 2019, Musk noted that Summon’s improvements should allow vehicles to read signs around parking lots to determine valid parking spots. Such capabilities, of course, would require larger, better trained neural networks. Fortunately, such networks are already under development, as mentioned by Tesla’s Director of Artificial Intelligence Andrej Karpathy, who noted there the company had already trained large neural networks that work very well. Karpathy noted, though, that the new neural networks just can’t be deployed to Tesla’s fleet due to limitations in the company’s current hardware. These limitations that are expected to be addressed when Tesla starts the rollout of Hardware 3 this year.
While undoubtedly basic, Summon is nevertheless one of the most notable convenience features of Tesla’s vehicles, particularly as it allows customers to operate their cars without anyone on the driver’s seat. Summon might only be capable of moving a car forward or backward for a maximum of 39 feet in a straight line, but it remains invaluable when parking in tight spaces. Even former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson, who clashed with Tesla and Elon Musk during the days of the original Roadster, loved Summon in a Model X P100D segment in The Grand Tour.
With Advanced Summon now approved by regulators, it would only be a matter of time before members of Tesla’s early access program would be able to sample the new capabilities of the company’s fun, functional, driverless feature.