Tesla’s new Summon feature, revealed in January for overseas markets, is now making its way to Australian models through an ‘over the air’ software update.
Initially kept from Australian owners while the company worked through the necessary regulatory requirements, an announcement this weekend has confirmed that local models are now receiving Summon via the latest version 7.1.1 update to the Model S sedan’s operating system.
Depending on the conditions, Summon is designed to allow owners to step out of their Model S and have it negotiate its way into a parking space without assistance. Although this is already possible with the driver inside the car, exiting the car first means that the vehicle can be parked in an even tighter space than usual.
Likewise, and as its name suggests, the Summon feature allows the vehicle to be called remotely from its parking space, via a button on the key fob.
The system will work within 10 metres of the final intended parking space, but the operator must be standing within three metres of the vehicle when first activating the Summon feature.
The process can be stopped at any time with an additional tap of the key fob’s centre button, or via the mobile app, or by pressing any of the car’s door handles.
Tesla wisely advises that the vehicle’s sensors may not detect “certain obstacles”, including very narrow objects - such as bikes - or those that are either lower than the bumpers or hanging from a ceiling. Likewise, Summon can only be used on flat surfaces.
“As such, Summon requires that you continually monitor your vehicle's movement and surroundings while it is in progress, and that you remain prepared to stop the vehicle at any time,” the announcement reads.
The company says that Summon, which is technically still an experimental ‘beta’ technology, is intended to be used “only on private residential property”, where the space is familiar and predictable.
“During this Beta stage of Summon, we would like customers to become familiar with it on private property. Eventually, your Tesla will be able to drive anywhere across the country to meet you, charging itself along the way. It will sync with your calendar to know exactly when to arrive,” Tesla says.
The version 7.1.1 update also adds regenerative braking enhancements, improved Spotify playback in low connectivity areas and the Creep setting being saved to driver profiles.
BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class next?
The latest generations of BMW's 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class both offer their own takes on remote parking technology, but, as with Tesla's Summon, those systems have initially been unavailable in Australia.
However, with Summon now making its way to Australian owners, it is possible that BMW Australia and Mercedes-Benz Australia have gained similar regulatory approval.
Neither company has made an announcement on this topic, but CarAdvice has contacted both for details. We'll update this article as more information becomes available.