The latest firmware update for Tesla cars has arrived with a bang, literally, as some users of the new Smart Summon mode have found that their vehicles are crashing into other cars.
The ability to remotely summon your car is an undeniably neat feature of Tesla's version 10.0 software update. But it's one that has already seen some owners having to make quick calls to their insurance companies.
Other notable new features of Tesla 10.0 focus on in-car entertainment, with streaming services and karaoke (yes, really) being added to the mix. Here's the low down on all of Tesla's latest tricks.
Without a doubt, it's Smart Summon that is Tesla's latest killer feature. If you've ever longed for your own self-aware car, like Kit in Knight Rider, then this is as close as you're going to get. With Smart Summon, Tesla customers who have purchased the Full Self Driving Capability or Enhanced AutoPilot can call their cars to come to them. Gone are the days of trudging around the parking lot looking for your car, now you have your very own automated concierge who will drop your car off wherever you request it. Well almost.
To use the feature, the driver must have line of sight of their vehicle, so you won't be able to ask it to come and pick you up in the middle of nowhere. Tesla recommends that its best used when the driver has ‘an overflowing shopping cart' or is ‘dealing with a fussy child', and the 20 yard walk to the car is just too much. It also states that owners will feel a ‘unique moment of delight' when their Tesla pulls up to the kerb to collect them, although we can't say that onlookers will feel the same sense of awe, especially if they have to duck out of the way of the oncoming car.
As with most firmware updates, users can sometimes expect crashes, but it's not the app that's crashing in this case as much as the cars. There have been several reports on Twitter of Tesla owners suffering prangs and scrapes while trying out the new mode, like this unfortunate driver:
Be forewarned @Tesla @elonmusk Enhanced summon isn’t safe or production ready. Tried in my empty drive way. Car went forward and ran into the side of garage. Love the car but saddened. #Tesla #TeslaModel3 pic.twitter.com/tRZ88DmXAW
— AB (@abgoswami) September 28, 2019
Other drivers haven't had the fortune to only hit their garage wall. Others have already had collisions with other cars, like this owner on Twitter:
Other party thinks that I was actually driving because I ran to my car before he got out. Please give me some advise. @LikeTeslaKim @TesLatino @Model3Owners @teslaownersSV @teslamodel3fan pic.twitter.com/ScE12wHqA9
— David F Guajardo (@DavidFe83802184) September 28, 2019
It raises an interesting conundrum for insurance companies, given that technically the driver wasn't even in the car at the time of the collision (although they were, in theory, in control). Use it at your own risk.
Part of the appeal of the Tesla is that it comes with plenty of features to keep you occupied on your journey, aside from boring old driving, which, lets face it, you can do in any car. The next logical step for the Tesla entertainment package was, naturally, karaoke (or car-aoke, as Tesla dubs it in the firmware update).
Now you can live out your very own Carpool Karaoke dreams, minus James Corden, and sing your heart out while you drive, complete with lyrics displayed on the dash. Sure, you may have to sacrifice some of your attention from the road to get word-perfect- but I'm sure the other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians you put at risk will understand, when they hear your perfect rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy? It's real- so be careful out there, folks.
Tesla promises a large library of songs, as well as multi-language support.
If you prefer to watch your entertainment rather than sing it, then you'll probably appreciate the addition of popular streaming services to the Tesla platform.
Model S, Model X and Model 3 cars can now connect to Netflix, YouTube and Hulu to stream video content, although only while you're parked, thankfully. Add a mini-fridge and the reasons to actually leave your car are getting fewer by the day.
Tesla is promising a further roll out of regional streaming services in the future, with Chinese owners due to get access to iQiyi and Tencent Video access shortly.
Music & Gaming
It's not just video that owners will be able to stream. Tesla has also added support for several audio platforms, the largest of which has to be Spotify Premium, which, according to Tesla, is one of the most requested features. Tesla have a decent history of responding to user requests, so it's no surprise to see this support added.
Another game is headed to the Tesla Arcade in Cuphead – an indie platformer that is something of a critic's darling. Players can plug a compatible joypad into the USB slot, and play single player or cooperatively.
Maps & Restaurants
For the spontaneous explorer, Tesla has added an “I'm feeling lucky” feature, which will take you on “an adventure” to a point of interest, within your car's range. Tired after your trip? Foodies will delight in the additional “I'm feeling hungry” feature, which will take you to surprise local eatery. Tesla claims that during testing drivers have ended up at “hole-in-the-wall restaurants, gourmet meals, national parks, city landmarks and more.”
On top of this fun navigational feature, regular map search results have been improved so that they are now sorted by distance to each destination. Plus, owners can now tap for more information on locations, such as ratings and phone numbers.
Some small “quality of life” changes have been made to the security features of the Tesla, such as changing the way that saved video is managed on USB storage, with Sentry Mode clips being allocated their own folder.and automatically deleted when you're low on storage.
The so-called ‘Joe Mode' (name origin unclear but apparently “he comes from the internet“) adds the ability to lower the cabin volume for audio-alerts, so that sleeping passengers aren't disturbed. Dashcam can now record and store footage from the rear-view camera.
Changes to the mobile app include the ability to automatically open and close garage doors, and remotely open and close windows.
Telsa 10.0 is available now, and will automatically ask owners if they want to download it.
We'll leave you with the unique Tesla 10.0 launch video: