After the well-documented release notes of the 7.1 update for the Model S and X Saturday, Tesla published a short blog update on Sunday and held a press conference to reveal its ambitions for the future of the ‘Summon’ feature, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to describes what he calls the “first baby step” of the ‘Summon’ capability and its potential for the future.
In the blog post, Tesla describes the current use of the Summon feature:
“Using Summon, once you arrive home and exit Model S or Model X, you can prompt it to do the rest: open your garage door, enter your garage, park itself, and shut down. In the morning, you wake up, walk out the front door, and summon your car. It will open the garage door and come to greet you. More broadly, Summon also eliminates the burden of having to squeeze in and out of tight parking spots.”
A Tesla currently equipped with the Autopilot hardware needs to be within 39 feet of its final parking spot for the Summon feature to work, but the company has much greater ambitions for the future of the feature:
“Eventually, your Tesla will be able to drive anywhere across the country to meet you, charging itself along the way. It will synch with your calendar to know exactly when to arrive.”
Although he called this prediction “slightly ambitious”, Musk said that he sees a Tesla owner in Los Angeles summoning his car from New York in about 2 years:
In ~2 years, summon should work anywhere connected by land & not blocked by borders, eg you're in LA and the car is in NY— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 10, 2016
Musk also confirmed that the “snake robot charger” is still under development and the company plans to bring it to market, but not before trying to make it look better.
The upcoming charger is an important part of the puzzle to let future Tesla vehicles autonomously drive across the country and be able to stop for charging without anyone having to plug it.
Musk also reiterated that for full autonomous driving, Tesla will need a new suite of sensors, which means Model S and X vehicles currently on the road will not be able to achieve full autonomy unless a retrofit to new hardware is made available.
Featured image: Tesla Model S 7.1 Summon Exit – James Majerus – Youtube