Porsche is really interested in Tesla’s latest V10 software update, and especially the new Smart Summon feature. Electrek has learned that Porsche sent engineers to the US to rent a Tesla Model 3 and test out Autopilot under the latest software update.
They apparently came out impressed.
Jensen Gadley, a Tesla Model 3 owner from Las Vegas who rents out his car on Turo, was thinking of canceling a rental after the customers insisted on using the Smart Summon feature in his car.
The problem is that Smart Summon requires the use of the Tesla Mobile App, which means that Gadley would have to give them either his phone or his Tesla credentials, which is obviously less than ideal.
Instead, he agreed to meet them in a parking lot to try the feature with him on his phone.
When the customers arrived, Gadley was surprised to see him come out of a Porsche Taycan, which is still not being delivered, with several more people.
The Taycan had cables and testing equipment inside:
After a few questions, they revealed that they are Porsche engineers working on driver assistance features, and they wanted Gadley’s Model 3 to test the Autopilot on the latest v10 update.
One of the engineers was Manuel Layher. He lists his position as “Entwicklungsingenieur Fahrerassistenzsysteme,” which translates to “development engineer driver assistance systems” at Porsche:
Gadley told Electrek that he stayed with them while they tested Tesla’s Smart Summon feature with his phone in two different parking lots in Las Vegas.
Smart Summon builds on Tesla’s previous “Summon” feature, which was used by owners to move their cars autonomously for a few feet in their driveway or in tight parking situations.
With the new version, owners are able to Summon their Tesla vehicles from further away, and the cars will navigate more complex parking environments.
With the feature, Tesla vehicles can move driverless in parking lots to reach the owner, as long as the owner holds their phone.
The Porsche engineers were testing the feature to see how the vehicle would react to the environment.
Gadley told Electrek that they were even jumping in front of the car to see if it would stop.
They eventually attracted a crowd in the parking lot as passersby were wondering why people were throwing themselves at a driverless Tesla.
After that, they left with the Model 3 for the day on their own in order to test the latest version of Tesla’s Autopilot.
When they came back, they told Gadley that they were impressed by how Autopilot had improved under v10.
Layher, the Porsche engineer, left a 5-star rating on Gadley’s Model 3. It is in German, but here’s the Google translation:
We wanted to drive a Tesla with V10. This we could do great here. Thanks a lot!
It wasn’t the first time Porsche benchmarked a Tesla vehicle against its Taycan.
That’s great news. I like that Porsche is interested in Tesla’s software because I think it’s one of Tesla’s biggest strengths.
I’d love for more automakers to follow Tesla’s lead here and put more effort into their software.
It includes the user interface, performance-related software, and, of course, Autopilot.
However, it’s weird that Porsche has to rent a Tesla from an owner on Turo in order to test out those features, but it’s not the first time we have heard of a similar situation.
At least Porsche didn’t go as far as Mercedes-Benz did with a Model X it rented from an owner in order to reverse-engineer it and put it back together.
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