A few years ago the electric car manufacturing giant Tesla Inc. introduced an astounding new feature called the “summon” which allowed the owners of its vehicles to bring their cars to them at the command of their smartphones. However, in a recent incident or shall we say accident, a Tesla owner used this feature at a very wrong place and at a very wrong time. Recently, a video from an aviation trade event made its way to the internet which showed a Tesla on autopilot crashing with a private jet worth millions of dollars.
The Footage from a security camera which appears to be recorded by a smartphone was uploaded to the r/flying subreddit. And in the video, a Tesla Model Y, driving on the famed summon feature, can be seen driving through a tiny airfield before colliding with the tail portion of a small private jet. The Tesla, following the initial crash, kept on moving which then turned the plane around 90 degrees before coming to a complete halt.
According to the Reddit uploader, the incident happened at an event sponsored by aircraft manufacturer Cirrus at Felts Field in Spokane, Washington. Meanwhile, the plane which was crashed into during the incident seems to be a Cirrus Vision SF50, which costs between $1,764,000 and $2,156,000. The same Reddit user also added that they themselves 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)!”
The Tesla summon as mentioned earlier is a feature that was introduced by the carmaker in 2019, which allows its owners to move their vehicles to their locations, using the phone’s GPS as a target destination. The owners can also summon their cars to a location of their choice. Meanwhile, the cars come equipped with the capabilities of manoeuvring around and stopping for objects as necessary. The vehicles utilize their external cameras to identify the surroundings and objects.
Although for this particular accident, there is no good explanation for why the car didn’t come to a halt before the Tesla reached the plane, especially since we don’t know when the Tesla was built. Tesla previously used cameras and radar in its vehicles for semi-autonomous driving features, but with the advent of Tesla Vision, the company has switched to a camera-only approach.
According to Tesla aficionados and members of the r/TeslaMotors subreddit, the incident might have occurred as the cameras and the sensors installed on any Tesla vehicle may not have detected the plane because the part of the aircraft the car hit was in the air. However, the real reason behind this collision still remains undetermined.
In other Tesla news, recently Elon Musk – the CEO of the company tweeted that Tesla could be interested in lithium mining and refining in its usual fashion – directly and at a high scale. Musk responding to a tweet related to the quickly increasing lithium prices said, “Price of lithium has gone to insane levels! Tesla might actually have to get into the mining & refining directly at scale, unless costs improve.” Elon further added, “There is no shortage of the element itself, as lithium is almost everywhere on Earth, but pace of extraction/refinement is slow.”