Tesla Model S owner claims car crashed in self-driving 'Summon' mode; Tesla denies report

May 12, 2016

In Utah, the owner of a Tesla Model S says that his semi-autonomous car crashed into the back of a trailer while he thought it was parked. Tesla Motors isn't so sure that's what happened.

The owner, Jared Overton, says that he'd parked the vehicle and stepped inside a shop to run an errand. When he came out, he found the car wedged beneath the trailer. Though the body of the sedan doesn't appear to have been damaged, the windshield was broken, requiring $700 worth of repairs.

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To Overton, the accident's a mystery. To Tesla, however, it was caused by improper use of the "Summon" feature seen demonstrated above.

Tesla says that a review of the car's logs shows that the Summon feature was activated by Overton just before the collision. If that's the case, he would've had to double-tap the vehicle's gear-selector button, shift it into park, and request activation of the Summon feature. According to Tesla, the logs indicate that Summon initiated three seconds after Overton exited the car.

Overton, however, insists that he didn't activate Summon at all. Furthermore, he says that before heading off to run his errand, he stood beside the car for between 20 and 60 seconds, telling someone about the vehicle. During that time, he maintains that the car didn't move.

The only thing that's truly clear is that the matter will require further investigation. Either Overton isn't being entirely truthful in his account, or the Summon feature activated without his knowledge. 

And for those wondering why the car's sensors didn't identify the trailer in front of it, Tesla's statement says:

"Please note that the vehicle may not detect certain obstacles, including those that are very narrow (e.g., bikes), lower than the fascia, or hanging from the ceiling. As such, Summon requires that you continually monitor your vehicle’s movement and surroundings while it is in progress and that you remain prepared to stop the vehicle at any time using your key fob or mobile app or by pressing any door handle. You must maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle when using this feature and should only use it on private property."

Translation: Summon isn't perfect. It's still in beta, so you're responsible for keeping tabs on your car when it's driving itself around. Which isn't exactly what other autonomous car manufacturerers have said.

[via Mashable]

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