Consumer Reports: Tesla's 'drunken' Smart Summon falls short of hype
Tests found the system works only intermittently and sometimes seems confused.
Consumer Reports has issued a critical assessment of Tesla's Smart Summon technology, essentially declaring the feature a half-baked gimmick that isn't yet ready for launch.
The reviewer found that the system can exit a parking space, turn and start moving toward the vehicle owner, and navigate around stationary objects. It also succeeds in stopping for pedestrians and slowing down for cross traffic.
The feature only worked "intermittently," however, and sometimes "seemed confused about where it was," shutting down in one parking lot because it thought it was on a public road. In other cases, the Model 3 would suddenly stop for no apparent reason.
"It would wander left and right as it drove--erratically, like a drunken or distracted driver," the reviewer added. "In another instance, the Model 3 drove itself the wrong way on a one-way lane."
CR senior policy analyst Ethan Douglas has called on Tesla to "stop beta-testing its cars on the general public" by rolling out experimental features before they're ready.
The NHTSA is apparently looking into reports of fender-benders and other incidents, though the safety agency has not yet launched an official investigation.