The latest in a series of “over-the-air” software updates will see Tesla Model S owners able to summon their vehicles to their side, just like Batman in the Arkham Knight game (or Michael Knight and KITT for those of us over 35 – ed).
Update 7.1 was pushed to Tesla Model S vehicles at the weekend, and among changes to the Autopilot and autonomous parallel parking systems is a new feature: the beta version of “summon”.
“You can summon the car from your key fob or phone through a pull-down menu,” Tesla’s chief executive officer Elon Musk told Business Insider. “It will open the garage door, back out of the garage, close the garage door, and come to you.”
Musk has said that the journey can only happen if the starting point and destination are on land and if no international borders need to be crossed.
The limitations continue, but these are simply in effect because the feature is still in beta. At the moment the driver cannot be further than 33 feet (10 meters) away from the vehicle, and the driver must continually monitor and maintain control of the vehicle.
We presume then that during the beta phase somebody needs to be inside of the car in order to quickly take over should anything go wrong.
Despite these limitations, Musk reckons that by 2018 Tesla owners will be able to summon a vehicle located in one city from their home in another. The car should then drive itself to the destination, stopping to recharge at the snake-like Tesla charging stations along the way.
As cool as this sounds, we’re a bit cautious about it. Something tells us that having your car trying to find you at rush hour might just frustrate fellow commuters rather than make you look cool.
[Image by CC 2.0 – Maurizio Pesce]