A human driver is required to drive vehicles. However, human drivers occasionally face some difficulties: we have to park our car far from where we are going; poor weather conditions make it difficult to get to the car, or; it can be difficult to get to the car in a crowded parking lot.
Although some vehicles can be controlled remotely, the vehicle’s route is usually limited to one straight-ahead path or reverse path with a limited turning range and lack of intelligence to navigate the vehicle along its own path.
This is why Tesla’s development team developed the Smart Summon feature. The patent for the invention “Autonomous and user controlled vehicle summon to a target” was filed on February 11, 2019. The patent was published on August 13, 2020.
It is noteworthy that in the list of inventors we see the name of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Musk has previously thanked the entire development team for this feature, but never mentioned that he was one of them. Musk is known for thinking much more globally than most other people, which is why Tesla cars are much more technologically advanced than cars of any other company.
Smart Summon was introduced in September 2019 and became Tesla’s most viral feature ever. In the first few days alone, this feature was used over 550,000 times.
Over 550,000 Tesla Smart Summon uses in first few days!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 2, 2019
This feature allows the vehicle to navigate the parking lot and drive up to the owner or to a destination of their choice while their vehicle is within their line of sight. It’s the perfect feature to use if you have an overflowing shopping cart, are dealing with a fussy child, or simply don’t want to walk to your car through the rain.
The feature is described as “a processor coupled to memory is configured to receive an identification of a geographical location associated with a target specified by a user remote from a vehicle. A machine learning model is utilized to generate a representation of at least a portion of an environment surrounding the vehicle using sensor data from one or more sensors of the vehicle. At least a portion of a path to a target location corresponding to the received geographical location is calculated using the generated representation of the at least portion of the environment surrounding the vehicle. At least one command is provided to automatically navigate the vehicle based on the determined path and updated sensor data from at least a portion of the one or more sensors of the vehicle.”
A flow diagram illustrating an embodiment of a process for automatically navigating a vehicle to a destination target.
Source: Tesla patent
Thanks to a group of inventors led by Musk, Smart Summon makes life easier for Tesla owners. He is passionate about Tesla’s products and strives to improve and develop them. Musk himself created and improved some functions in Tesla cars because he is not just a leader, but an inventor who fully understands how vehicles work. It is Musk that is Tesla’s secret sauce.