Tesla Wants To Revolutionize Your Commute

January 26, 2016

Tesla Motors has rolled out some groundbreaking technology over the past few months. Now, the company has taken to YouTube to share the perks of that technology with would-be buyers.

The "Revolutionize Your Commute" video is aimed at folks who begin and end their workday on the freeway. The clip begins with a commuter preparing to leave a sleek, modern, weirdly unlived-in house and using Tesla's new "Summon" feature to bring his car out of a garage. 

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Summon debuted earlier this month and lets owners use their smartphones to summon their Teslas from garages or parking spaces. It's a bit limited in that Summon can't pull Teslas out of parallel spots, it only allows cars to drive straight forward or backward. And also, without Elon Musk's self-plugging charging snake, cars can't yet plug themselves in.

Despite those shortcomings, Summon is a nifty bit of gee-whiz technology that'll come in handy if you have a narrow garage or are feeling kind of lazy. From Tesla's blog post about the feature:

"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. In the morning, you wake up, walk out the front door, and summon your car. It will open the garage door and come to greet you. More broadly, Summon also eliminates the burden of having to squeeze in and out of tight parking spots." 

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But of course, the bulk of the new clip is focused on Autopilot, the much-discussed, controversial autonomous driving system that Tesla rolled out last October. In the wake of numerous videos purporting to show Autopilot slip-ups -- often because drivers wanted the system to do something that it wasn't designed to do -- the video attempts to demonstrate what Autopilot can do. As Tesla explains in the video notes:

"Autopilot allows Model S to steer within a lane, change lanes with the simple tap of a turn signal, and manage speed by using active, traffic-aware cruise control. Digital control of motors, brakes, and steering helps avoid collisions from the front and sides, as well as preventing the car from wandering off the road."

And of course, Teslas can also parallel park for you. Granted, cars have been able to do that for years, but Tesla takes matters one step further by allowing a vehicle to scan for viable parking spots and alert  the driver when it passes one.

All in all, it's pretty nifty stuff. It feels a little first-gen -- like, say, the Apple Watch -- but it hints at a very exciting future.

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