Tesla Motors Inc Fixes Summon Mode Issues, Praised for Efficient Response by Consumer Reports

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The Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S has a 5-star rating from the NHTSA which shows how Tesla Motors is committed to safety in its vehicles. Tesla, however, expects the Model X to be safer than the predecessor Model S after safety issues reported by Consumer Reports were fixed instantly by the motor company. The safety feature having problems was the Summon feature of Tesla Autopilot 7.10.

This is all due to a release that Tesla made, that was given out at the beginning of the year, an autonomous program which added a feature that allowed owners to call their cars to their private properties without necessarily being in the car themselves. The cars would be able to respond and go and park it where it has been called. Consumer Reports, however, noticed some major problems in the update.

There were some flaws in the operating mechanism of Tesla summon. The company found that it was difficult for car owners to stop their cars in different situations, in cases whereby there might be a frozen app or key fob whilst the vehicle was still moving. This would mean that when the owner tells the car to stop it would not respond and it would have been fatal for the vehicle.

Tesla on the other hand noticed the flaw quickly and released an over the air (OTA) software update on February 26 and was able to address the problem at hand. A concept called “Deadman’s Switch” was applied and they appear to have taken a leaf out of German car manufacturing giant BMW.

The concept signals the car when the car owner loses control of the vehicle and it automatically stops moving. This is an ingenious plan because a non-moving car can do no harm. Tesla also disabled the access to the summon mode over the key fob in the default mode, since the devices hardware capabilities would limit functionality and therefore you would not be able to use Deadman’s Switch.

The key fob feature now has to be activated manually through a series of menus and warning acknowledgements although it can still be used for access to the Summon feature. Consumer Reports however advises against using it. A key fob is a type of a security token with authentication mechanisms.

Tesla has been applauded for being able to fix and address safety issues conveniently and efficiently like this especially with over the air updates. Their swiftness in responding is also seen as a step in the right direction as smart cars look like there are here to stay and more and more people shift from traditional vehicles to luxurious Tesla EV’s. Tesla seems to be moving in the right direction.