If there’s one thing Tesla likes to boast about, it’s all that incredible technology packed into its cars. From screens bigger than my TV to the company’s Autopilot Level 2 driver-assist system, Teslas seem to have everything but the kitchen sink. But, the more stuff you pack into a car, the more stuff there is to go wrong. And Tesla stuff seems to go wrong a lot.
If it isn’t Autopilot going awry and putting you in danger, it’s build quality and software glitches that endlessly dent the brand’s reputation. But now, Tesla’s tech has found a new thing to dent. Namely, a $US2 ($3) million private jet.
A video doing the rounds on Reddit today appears to show one of the more costly mistakes made by a Tesla owner in recent times. The clip, posted to the r/flying subreddit, shows a gleaming Cirrus Vision Jet parked on the tarmac, minding its own business.
Then, a Tesla creeps into the scene and gets ever closer to the multi-million-dollar plane. The car, which we think is a Model Y, hits the plane and just keeps pressing on, spinning the jet around 90 degrees before both vehicles come to a stop.
At first, it just looks like the weirdest slow-motion crash you could have. But it gets goofier: According to the poster of the video, the Tesla was in Smart Summon mode, where the owner can use a smartphone app to remotely drive the vehicle at very slow speeds, mainly while parking.
When asked about the video by Jalopnik, the poster said: “Someone used Summon so no one was in the car. It was yesterday in Spokane [Washington] at Felts Field Airport.”
As per Tesla’s website:
Smart Summon works with the Tesla mobile app when your phone is located within approximately 6 meters of Model Y. Smart Summon manoeuvres Model Y out of parking spaces and around corners.
This is useful for moving Model Y out of a tight parking spot, through puddles, or helping you retrieve your car while carrying packages. You must maintain a clear line of sight between you and Model Y and closely monitor the vehicle and its surroundings at all times.
So clearly, whoever had the car in Smart Summon didn’t have their Tesla in a clear line of sight. Otherwise, they might have noticed the great big plane it was about to hit.
Jalopnik has reached out to Felts Field Airport to find out a little more about the crash, namely why a Tesla was allowed onto the tarmac in the first place, and who was doing the summoning. But, we haven’t yet heard back from the airfield about the incident.
We did, however, hear back from Cirrus, the firm that makes the Vision Jet. A spokesperson said in a statement:
“We can confirm that the aircraft in the video is a Cirrus Aircraft Vision Jet. The Vision Jet is the best-selling personal jet in the world for three years in a row. The award-winning Vision Jet features the Safe Return Autoland system which allows a passenger to land the aircraft with a touch of a button as well as the revolutionary Cirrus Airframe Parachute System.”
So, a self-driving car crashes into a self-landing plane. We truly are living in the future.