Telsa's new Smart Summon feature is just rolling out to customers, but after just a few days, regulators are acknowledging reports that the app-enabled remote operation mode has been involved in multiple incidents.
The NHTSA said Wednesday that it is aware of reports of Tesla's new Smart Summon feature causing minor accidents, and while the agency stopped short of announcing a formal investigation, it confirmed that it has been "in ongoing contact with the company" and is gathering data, Reuters reported Tuesday.
The feature allows Tesla owners to remotely summon their cars provided they are close by and in line-of-sight. When activated, the Tesla will drive itself to the owner (or to a designated location nearby, such as curbside) to pick them up. Tesla says it's great for for rainy days or avoiding long walks with bulky items.
Reuters reported on videos that have surfaced of summoned Teslas involved in minor fender-benders and several near-misses. The above video from NBC's "TODAY Show" depicts several cringe-worthy incidents of Tesla owners filming their cars as they fail to yield to other traffic in parking lots. One clip shows damage to a Tesla that struck a garage wall.
Smart Summon was introduced last week to the wider Tesla audience with the roll-out of the company's "Version 10" software update. Prior to that, it was available to a select group of pilot users for evaluation and feedback. When Tesla announced the deployment, the company said the new feature had been widely praised.