Tesla to Upgrade Remote Control “Summon” Feature

Tesla Inc. plans to introduce an advanced version of its Summon feature by year-end that will allow users to operate their vehicle remotely in certain situations via a smartphone app.

Launched in early 2016, Summon currently can be used to move a Tesla vehicle a short distance, such as guiding it into or out of a tight parking space.

With the upgrade, owners will be able to summon a vehicle to their location. CEO Elon Musk says cars will follow owners “like a pet” if the Summon button is held down.

Owners also can operate a vehicle like a big remote-controlled car, as long as it stays within a line of sight of the person with the smartphone, according to Musk.

Additional improvements are planned for next year that will allow owners to use Summon to command their vehicle to drive itself to find an empty parking space. The cars will be able to read signs to confirm a spot is valid, then complete the maneuver, Musk says.

The enhancements will be made through over-the-air software upgrades on vehicles equipped with Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system and second-generation hardware unit.