Posted on December 15, 2019 by Iqtidar Ali
Video footage was recently captured of a Model 3 owner trying to use Tesla's Smart Summon feature in some snowy winter conditions. The video takes place within the boundaries of a private parking lot area. Although Tesla's Smart Summon feature has been documented (in multiple videos) in normal weather conditions, it's great to see how the feature performs in extreme cold weather — this test helps us better understand the feature's capabilities and limitations.
Above: Using Tesla's Smart Summon feature with a Model 3 in snowy winter conditions (YouTube: Daniel Spalding)
Daniel Spalding's YouTube channel predominantly makes videos about his experiences in his Tesla Model 3. According to Spalding, when he first saw his Model 3 in the parking lot, the car along with the sensors and cameras, were covered in snow. Therefore, the Model 3 (at first) did not respond to a Smart Summon request.
Spalding then cleaned the cameras and sensors in order to summon the Model 3 from a distance. Using Tesla app on his phone, he simply presses the 'Come to Me' button in order to summon a driverless pickup in the snow. Undoubtedly, this feature spooks onlookers sometimes — especially if they're not aware of Tesla's full self-driving functionality (albeit limited).
In any event, the Model 3 eventually made it to Spalding during some light snowfall. It appears Tesla's AI is able to detect such weather conditions and perform accordingly. To get a better idea of what happens in this type of situation, check out the video below.
Above: Tesla Model 3 owner using the Smart Summon feature in snowy conditions (YouTube: Daniel Spalding)
It appears that when the Model 3 is in Tesla's Smart Summon mode, it actually detects the weather conditions and that the visibility is not optimal. In turn, Tesla's FSD software reduces the car's speed to 1 mph (which otherwise could have been up to 5 mph in normal conditions). Therefore, it looks like Tesla's Neural Net is learning to handle these situations, safely, as needed.
Also when the sensors and cameras were totally covered, the car wouldn't allow the Smart Summon feature to be used at all (the vehicle simply did not move) — this showcases another wise decision by Tesla's AI to ensure both the safety of the vehicle and the surroundings.
With Tesla's recent v10 software update, Smart Summon turned out to be a popular feature with Tesla owners — especially in situations with rain and (now) snow. Features like Smart Summon continue to set Teslas apart from traditional cars. With advances like this, Tesla's ever-expanding software edge is leaving legacy automakers behind.