Now your Tesla can come pick you up. California says that’s not ‘driverless’
Tesla can come pick you up. California says that’s not ‘driverless’
RUSS MITCHELL 4, 2019 6 AM
Is it legal? Yes, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. And even though the state has
must be met before companies can deploy driverless cars, Tesla’s latest service
doesn’t need a permit.
Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is aware of Smart Summon and is in contact with Tesla. The agency said in an email it “will not hesitate to act” if it finds evidence of a safety-related defect.
Smart Summon works over Wi-Fi and cellphone networks through Tesla’s smartphone app, which also provides remote locking, unlocking and other features. Although Smart Summon’s range is limited to 200 feet, Tesla on its website promises to add traffic-light and stop-sign recognition and automatic driving on city streets by Dec. 31, but it hasn’t offered further details. Tesla did not respond to requests for comment.
Teslas already came equipped with Autopilot, a driver-assist feature that enables the car to steer itself and pass other vehicles on highways. For years Autopilot has drawn fire from critics who point to videos of people sleeping, eating or reading. Tesla tells drivers to pay attention and keep their hands on the wheel, but CEO Elon Musk himself has been shown on YouTube and national television driving on Autopilot with his hands raised.
Tesla may have more incentive to deploy autonomous features than other companies. It’s unprofitable and has been surviving for 16 years on new rounds of investor cash. Waymo, owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., has plenty of cash and can afford to take its time. Major automakers aren’t as flush, but they are profitable with tremendous cash flow that allows for some patience too.