Tesla has just released the latest software update for its all-electric Model S, and it adds the ability for the car to park itself and then return to the owner at the push of a button. Summon, as it's called, has finally passed its regulatory hurdles in Australia, and that means the Model S is -- again -- the smartest car on our roads and in our carparks.
Summon comes as part of the Model S' 7.1.1 software update, released late last week to customer vehicles around the country. As well as Summon, 7.1.1 adds better Spotify connectivity when you're in a dodgy 4G or 3G area, per-driver adjustments to the Creep setting, and "enhancements" to regenerative braking. But Summon is by far the most interesting new feature, because in traditional Tesla fashion it's very different to the way we normally drive.
With Summon, a Model S driver can tell the car to drive itself into a parking spot up to 10 metres from where it's stopped; it's useful for parking the car in an extremely tight space where the driver wouldn't easily be able to exit the vehicle. Summon also works in reverse, pulling the car out from its parking space -- with limited steering and navigation -- for the driver to jump in and get going. Tesla is very careful to say that Summon is only for flat driveways in private residential property, and that drivers should stay near the car when it's parking itself.