Tesla Smart Summon attracts NHTSA scrutiny

The feature has been used more than a half million times in the first days.

Tesla's Smart Summon feature has already attracted attention from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The feature began rolling out to a wider group of owners last week, prompting many to try out the unique technology that allows the car to drive itself into or out of parking spaces. Elon Musk says the feature was used over 550,000 times in the first few days.

Some of the attempts apparently did not go so well, with a few reports of fender-bender accidents. In one case, the car appears to steer itself into the side of a garage door. Other videos show cars having difficulty navigating busy parking lots.

The NHTSA is "aware of reports" related to Tesla's Summon feature, though it has apparently not yet launched a formal investigation.

"We are in ongoing contact with the company and we continue to gather information," the agency told Reuters. "Safety is NHTSA's top priority and the agency will not hesitate to act if it finds evidence of a safety-related defect."

Tesla warns users that they must be less than 200 feet from the vehicle, maintain a clear line of sight to the vehicle and remain aware of its surroundings. Owners can simply stop holding the app button to halt the vehicle.

"You are still responsible for your car and must monitor it and its surroundings at all times and be within your line of sight because it may not detect all obstacles," the disclaimer clarifies. "Be especially careful around quick moving people, bicycles and cars."

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