Tesla's 'smart summon' feature can be pretty handy in a flooded parking lot
The owner of a Tesla Model Y, Raudel Molina, was able to put the Smart Summon feature to work during some special circumstances recently in Florida. This particular Model Y withstood about an hour-long rain. When the rain stopped, the parking lot was completely flooded. Molina remembered his Tesla was capable of of "escaping" the flooded parking lot — all without him having to ruin his shoes (and getting them drenched) in the waterlogged walk out to his car. He had something else in mind.
Above: Tesla Model Y owner drives his car through a flooded parking lot (Source: Raudel Molina / YouTube)
As soon as the escape plan hatched in his mind, he took out his phone, opened the Tesla Mobile App, and called the car over — just like a pet would run to its master. He explained (via Instagram), "So it rained for like an hour and when I finally was able to go to my car I realized that it was in a flooded area. I remembered about the Smart Summon and put it to work. It did a really good job better than expected."
The purpose of Tesla's Smart Summon feature is to be able to "summon" your car to yourself (the driver) within a parking lot or on private property. In turn, the Model Y, in this case, performed the act perfectly. First, the car backed-up slowly and then turned itself to the right. However, as soon as it got too close to a truck, it stopped. Then, the Model Y pivoted to get a better position in order to proceed.
Above: Tesla driving itself out of a flooded parking lot (YouTube: Raudel Molina)
Someone commented that if the car was driving itself, why were the windshield wipers are running? The answer: Teslas have three main forward-facing cameras behind the windshield, if Autopilot senses a distorted vision field, the wipers are activated automatically.
Not having an internal combustion engine (along with a tailpipe), electric vehicles can actually be more drivable in flooded areas. They can be less prone to shutting down and don't risk water flowing into an "engine" either. Tesla's Elon Musk described the phenomenon and said Teslas can even turn into boats for brief periods of time.
Twitter: Elon Musk
However, this functionality should only be be used in shallow waters or only in emergency situations — not like the Tesla Model X owner who drove his SUV through the South Dakota floods last year.