Tesla is updating the "Summon" feature in the Model S and X, introduced earlier this year, to fix a safety flaw. The feature allows Tesla owners to "drive" their cars remotely at very slow speeds; the idea is to allow the car to move in and out of tight spaces, like garages, with the car driving itself.
However, as Consumer Reports pointed out, there was a potential safety issue with the feature. To use Summon, a driver presses a button on the key fob to get the car moving (albeit, again, at a very slow speed). To stop, the driver presses the button again. However, if the key was dropped (or the iPhone app was accidentally closed) or the driver presses the wrong button, the car could continue to move on its own.
The car would stop on its own if it encountered a curb or if someone touched the door handle, but it was still an unnecessary risk. So, Tesla has updated the feature to be a "dead-man's switch" — in order to make the car move, the driver now needs to physically hold down the button to make the car move. Let go and the car stops.
"Consumer Reports surfaced valid concerns that we’ve already built fixes for, continuing to make Summon and our vehicles better," said a Tesla spokesperson in a statement.