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Is Tesla’s Autopilot Summon Safe Around A Small Child? (Video)

While no one using Tesla’s new Summon feature to call their car to the curb where they are waiting is likely to be too worried about being struck by the car themselves, parents of small children or owners of small pets are probably at the very least a bit apprehensive about using it.

After all, do you really want to trust a computer with your child’s life? Granted, people are themselves certainly not faultless in their awareness or judgement, but the lack of trust with regard to computer/software judgement + awareness is no doubt a barrier to the wider adoption of autonomous technologies.

On that note, Tesla recently released a firmware update to address an issue with the Summon feature that was raised by Consumer Reports — whereby low-lying objects or small children may not have been detected by the summoned car.

Following the firmware update, some Tesla owners of course decided to test out the new and improved Summon feature. Here’s a video of some guy pitting the feature against stuffed animals, buckets, and his own kid…

Teslarati provides some further information:

Tesla quickly addressed the safety concern with a feature update that required operators to be within 10 feet of the vehicle being summoned. The feature also enforces the person to keep their finger on a Summon button via the smartphone app, where as in the past an activated Summon could not be disabled if someone were to accidentally drop the smartphone or key fob.

Good to see the company staying on top of things like this, but I have to wonder about the issue — shouldn’t someone have caught this before Summon was released?

Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.


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