Incident 178: Tesla Owner Activated "Smart Summon" Feature, Causing a Collision with an Aircraft in a Washington Airport

Description: A Tesla Model Y was shown on video slowly crashing into a Vision Jet in Spokane, Washington, allegedly due to its owner activating the “Smart Summon” feature.
Alleged: Tesla developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed Tesla owner and Vision Jet owner.

Suggested citation format

McGregor, Sean. (2022-04-21) Incident Number 178. in McGregor, S. (ed.) Artificial Intelligence Incident Database. Responsible AI Collaborative.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
178
Report Count
8
Incident Date
2022-04-21
Editors
Sean McGregor, Khoa Lam

Tools

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Incidents Reports

A video was posted on Reddit Thursday that appears to show a Tesla vehicle slowly crashing into a $3.5 million private jet after being “summoned” by its owner using the automaker’s automatic parking feature.

The Reddit user (who did not immediately respond to a request for comment) said the incident took place at an event sponsored by aircraft manufacturer Cirrus at Felts Field in Spokane, Washington.

The smartphone video appears to capture security camera footage of the Tesla slowly crashing into and then actually pushing the Cirrus Vision Jet across the tarmac. A spokesperson for Felts Field also did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the poster, the Tesla owner was using the “Smart Summon” feature that enables a Tesla vehicle to leave a parking space and navigate around obstacles to its owner. Using just the Tesla app on your smartphone, you can “summon” your car to you from a maximum distance of 200 feet, as long as the car is within your line of sight.

The Reddit user said they also own a Tesla Model Y but were not the “poor soul (with poor decision making abilities) who summoned his Tesla around several expensive aircraft - only to crash it into the most expensive one ($3,500,000)!”

Smart Summon was first rolled out in 2019, and Tesla owners immediately began posting videos of near-crashes or confused, slow-moving vehicles. One Tesla owner tweeted about “front bumper damage” while another claimed their Model 3 “ran into the side of [a] garage.”

A video of a near-collision with a speeding SUV left the owner feeling their test of Smart Summon “didn’t go so well.” Another Tesla was filmed by pedestrians and people in other cars seeming confused as it tried to make its way across a Walmart parking lot.

A newer version of the feature enables owners to summon their Tesla vehicles from further away and can navigate more complex parking environments, according to Electrek. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has described Smart Summon as the company’s “most viral feature ever.”

A Tesla vehicle using ‘Smart Summon’ appears to crash into a $3.5 million private jet

A Tesla vehicle was caught on video crashing into a $3.5M Cirrus Vision jet after being ‘summoned’ in a dangerous way by the owner.

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.

CEO Elon Musk described Smart Summon as “Tesla’s most viral feature.”

A few weeks after the release, it had already been used over 550,000 times and several Tesla owners posted videos of their vehicles being involved in crashes and near misses while testing the new Smart Summon feature.

It is primarily used to have your car drive back “autonomously” to you from where you parked it in a parking lot. In some ways, it was the first truly “self-driving” feature for Tesla, since it could be used without anyone in the car.

But like any of Tesla’s Autopilot features or Full Self-Driving Beta, owners need to stay attentive at all times, and be ready to take control; we got an extreme example of why this is the case as Tesla vehicle crashed into a jet of all things.

At a Cirrus event at Spokane’s Felts Field airport, what appears to be a Tesla Model Y being summoned crashed in a Vision Jet. A Redditor shared a video of the incident from a security camera:

The video evidence would point to the owner not paying attention when summoning the vehicle since it looks like there was plenty of time to see that the vehicle was heading straight for the jet.

In order for Smart Summon to work, the owner has to keep their finger on a button in the app. As soon as they lift their finger, the car comes to a stop. In this case, it is particularly concerning that the Tesla vehicle kept moving forward after making contact with the plane.

In the past, Tesla vehicles on Autopilot have had difficulties detecting objects that are lifted off the ground, like a semi trailer, which can be similar to the back of an airplane.

Tesla vehicle crashes into $3.5 million jet after being dangerously 'summoned' by owner

Neither Tesla or the aircraft manufacturer have commented on the crash.

A video posted to Reddit this week appears to show a Tesla vehicle driving into a jet while using one of its self-driving functions.

Uploaded on Thursday by u/smiteme, the footage, reportedly taken at an event held by the aircraft manufacturer Cirrus, shows the vehicle running into what’s known as a Vision Jet.

The vehicle is said to have struck the aircraft, reportedly valued at around $3.5 million, after the owner activated Tesla’s Smart Summon feature. The Vision Jet can be seen rotating as the Tesla attempts to drive through it.

The Reddit user who allegedly filmed the incident expressed shock at “the poor soul” responsible for the accident.

“I was at an event for the aircraft manufacturer Cirrus,” the redditor wrote. “I also drive a Tesla Model Y – but was not the poor soul (with poor decision making abilities) who summoned his Tesla around several expensive aircraft – only to crash it into the most expensive one ($3,500,000)! Woof.”

The Daily Dot reached out to the redditor who shared the footage but did not hear back by press time.

The incident would not be the first involving Tesla’s Smart Summon function, which allows the vehicle to use its self-driving technology to leave a parking spot and drive around obstacles until it reaches its owner.

As noted by the Verge, numerous Tesla owners reported both close-calls and fender-benders after the feature was introduced in 2019.

Tesla did not respond to the Daily Dot’s inquiry regarding the most recent incident involving the Vision Jet.

The video also made its way over to Twitter where both supporters and critics of Tesla weighed in.

The Daily Dot also reached out to Cirrus to ask for details on the incident. While the company did not elaborate on the accident, in a statement, Cirrus confirmed that the aircraft struck by the Tesla was in fact the company’s Vision Jet.

Tesla owner uses 'Smart Summon' feature, crashes into $3.5 million jet

A new video has surfaced on Reddit that shows a Tesla vehicle crashing into a $3.5 million Cirrus Vision jet after being ‘summoned’ in a precarious way by the owner at a Cirrus event at Spokane’s Felts Field airport. Tesla Model Y has a feature called “Smart Summon” that allows the driver to push a button on their phone to call the car to come to them autonomously.

A sight to behold

In this video, we can see the summoned car going all the way up to a Cirrus Vision jet and colliding with its tail. It then still keeps pushing forward until it has turned the jet around in a complete half-circle before it finally comes to a halt. It's quite a sight to behold.

“I also drive a Tesla Model Y - but was not the poor soul (with poor decision-making abilities) who summoned his Tesla around several expensive aircraft - only to crash it into the most expensive one ($3,500,000)!” wrote the video's poster in another Reddit entry.

"I can’t be the only one that thinks it’s not the best idea to autonomously summon your Tesla past a bunch of very expensive Cirruses.🧐 lucky for the owner they probably hit the most expensive plane there," wrote a Reddit user underneath the first post.

Many glitches

Smart summon has been known to have many glitches, even occasionally crashing into poles. CEO Elon Musk has described the feature as “Tesla’s most viral feature" but that definitely does not make it its safest.

Of course, like any of Tesla’s Autopilot features or Full Self-Driving Beta, owners need to stay attentive at all times, something this particular owner clearly wasn't doing, or he would have taken control and stopped the crash. Perhaps he summoned the vehicle by accident simply by sitting on the app's button?

A Tesla Model Y crashes into a $3.5 million jet after being ‘summoned’

A viral video posted on social media shows a Tesla vehicle crashing into a multi-million dollar private jet after its owner tried to "summon" it with an automatic parking feature.

The video, which was first posted to Reddit this week and later shared across Twitter, had been viewed more than 3 million times by Saturday morning. The incident reportedly took place at an event sponsored by aircraft manufacturer Cirrus at Felts Field in Spokane, Washington, according to The Verge.

The video captures security camera footage of a Tesla Model Y slowly ramming into a Cirrus Vision Jet, which costs nearly $3.5 million, the news outlet reported.

According to social media posts, the owner of the vehicle was using the Tesla "Smart Summon" feature, which is meant to help cars navigate obstacles in order to move in and out of nearby parking spaces on its own. Through the Tesla app, an owner can move their vehicle by targeting a location via GPS as long as the car is within 20 feet and in the owner's line of vision.

"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," Tesla says on its website.

Smart Summon was first introduced in 2019, but Tesla owners quickly noted that the feature was riddled with mishaps, with several users reporting that their cars had become confused or gotten into accidents during trials. Some owners reported that their vehicles rammed into garages, while others noted that their cars attempted to drive into traffic.

"Be forewarned @Tesla @elonmusk Enhanced summon isn't safe or production ready. Tried in my empty drive way. Car went forward and ran into the side of garage. Love the car but saddened," wrote one Twitter user.

As a whole, Tesla's self-driving features, or advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), have often been viewed as controversial. The company offers three levels of ADAS systems, which includes Basic Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self Driving Beta.

The company has previously been criticized for misleading the public into thinking its ADAS systems can allow drivers to pull their attention entirely away from the road. In reality, Tesla notes that all drivers should be ready to take over in a moment's notice if operating under an ADAS system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently investigating at least 12 instances in where Tesla vehicles with autopilot features enabled crashed into stationary emergency vehicles, Newsweek reported last month. In one incident, a Tesla driver using autopilot in North Carolina was watching a movie on his phone when his vehicle slammed into a parked police car, striking a sheriff's deputy.

Newsweek contacted Tesla for additional comment.

Video of Tesla in "Smart Summon" mode ramming $3M jet viewed 3.4M times

The car was in "Smart Summon" mode when it ran into the jet. The feature was introduced by Tesla in 2019 and is still a beta feature.

Autopilot fail!

Camera caught a self-driving Tesla crashing into a $3.5 million private jet.

The car was reported on 'smart summon' mode where the empty car navigates to your location.

Tesla collides with private jet while owner uses 'Smart Summon' mode

The Tesla owner was inside a nearby hangar at the time, apparently going against the company's advice on using the summoning feature safely.

A viral video of a driverless Teslacar slowly crashing into a private jet worth around $3 million has taken the internet by storm. Shared on Reddit, the clip shows the Tesla Model Y steadily approaching the 9.4 metre-long Cirrus Vision jet after the owner of the electric car summoned it using an automated parking feature.

According to New Zealand-based media outlet Stuff, the Reddit user claimed that the incident took place at an event hosted by aircraft manufacturer Cirrus at Felts Field in Spokane, Washington. The user also said that the car owner was using the “Smart Sumon” feature, which enables the vehicle to leave the parking space and navigate around obstacles to its owner.

It is still not clear how much damage the car or plane sustained in the incident. Euronews Next reported that another Reddit user, who claimed to have witnessed the incident first-hand, stated that the electric car owner was inside a nearby hangar at the time, apparently going against the company's advice on using the summoning feature safely.

It is to mention that according to Tesla, the Smart Summon feature is “designed to allow you to move Model Y to your location (using your phone's GPS as a target destination) or to a location of your choice, manoeuvring around and stopping for objects as necessary… You must maintain a clear line of sight between you and Model Y and closely monitor the vehicle and its surroundings at all times.”

Meanwhile, this is not the first time the autopilot feature of Tesla has resulted in a collision. In 2019, shortly after Smart Summon was first rolled out, an influential US magazine Consumer Reports said that Tesla Inc's Smart Summon automated parking system is "glitchy" and only works intermittently. Several users had even posted videos on social media of Tesla vehicles that appeared to have been in near-accidents.

Viral Video: Driverless Tesla Crashes Into Private Jet As Owner Uses "Smart Summon" Feature

A Tesla car on autopilot crashed into a £2.5million private jet after its owner reportedly tried to call for it using the vehicle's Smart Summon feature.

The collision happened at an event hosted by aircraft manufacturer Cirrus in Spokane, Washington, in the US.

Video shows the car slowly ramming into the aircraft and pushing it across the Tarmac.

The car is believed to have been in Smart Summon mode which caused it to slam into the multimillion-dollar jet.

The Tesla website said Smart Summon is "designed to allow you to move Model Y to your location (using your phone's GPS as a target destination) or to a location of your choice, manoeuvring around and stopping for objects as necessary".

It adds: "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."

However, the company added there were multiple caveats to the feature.

It said on its website: "Smart Summon is a BETA feature. You must continually monitor the vehicle and its surroundings and stay prepared to take immediate action at any time.

"It is the driver's responsibility to use Smart Summon safely, responsibly, and as intended.

"Smart Summon may not stop for all objects (especially very low objects such as some curbs, or very high objects such as a shelf) and may not react to all traffic.

"Smart Summon does not recognise the direction of traffic, does not navigate around empty parking spaces, and may not anticipate crossing traffic."

Smart Summon was first implemented by Tesla in 2019.

The feature, however, was met with disapproval after Tesla owners complained of property damage and multiple near-accidents from the driverless cars.

In February, the EV-vehicle firm recalled almost 54,000 of its self-driving vehicles due to a glitch which allows them to travel through stop signs.

The US company will recall 53,822 U.S. vehicles with the company's Full Self-Driving (Beta) software.

Tesla on autopilot slams into £2.7million private jet before pushing it across Tarmac