Exploring Tesla’s Smart Summon Feature

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Tesla is well known for their amazing autopilot system. One standout feature is the Tesla Smart Summon, part of the FSD (full self-driving capability) tech for Tesla’s autopilot.

With Smart Summon activated, it allows you to control the car without being in it. 

We’ve gone through everything you need to know about Smart Summon below.

Table of Contents

    What Is Smart Summon?

    The smart summon feature is available on all Tesla models that have autopilot. It came after the over-the-air update in their software version 10.0 in September 2019.

    Smart Summon is an updated version of Tesla’s Summon feature which is a self-driving technology from Tesla’s autopilot system. The eight cameras on the car and neural net help the car to perceive its surroundings and avoid objects.

    When activated, you can move your Tesla to your location. This is done via your phone’s GPS or a set location on the Tesla app within 6 meters.

    Self-driving will be able to take your Tesla out of car parking spaces, avoid objects, and drive to you at a limited speed of 6 mph to avoid collisions. You remain outside of the car.

    What Is Summon?

    This Summon feature was introduced in 2016. It was part of the Autopilot update and was then replaced by Smart Summon as the upgraded version.

    Summon was created to enable Tesla users to automatically park the car or retrieve it while standing outside of the vehicle.

    Summon allows you to move the car forward or reverse it up to 12 meters in and out of a parking space. It is also controlled via the Tesla app.

    Why Is Summon Not Showing On My Tesla App?

    In the recent months of 2023, some Tesla users have reported they cannot find the summon option on their Tesla apps.

    If this is the case, do not worry. Tesla has recently disabled this autopilot feature due to the Tesla ‘New Vision’ which is being installed as an update soon.

    Tesla is removing the ultrasonic sensors on all the Tesla models delivered after October 2022. This is to improve their FSD system while establishing the vision-based occupancy network. The aim of this is to improve the autopilot system.

    While this transition is taking place Tesla has announced models without the USS will temporarily have features such as Summon, Smart Summon, Park Assist, and Autopark unavailable.

    Till the overair software update is delivered to restore these features they may be unavailable. This is why Summon may not be available on your app. Tesla has not released a clear timeline for when this will be.

    The other possible reason why Summon may not be working on your Tesla app is that you may not have enhanced autopilot or FSD enabled on your Tesla. For these, you need to pay an extra subscription per month.

    How Do You Use Smart Summon?

    Before you start using Smart Summon, ensure that you have the latest version of the Tesla app on your phone. Make sure you have cellular service and GPS enabled, too.

    For Smart Summon to work your Tesla shouldn’t be in any mode and don’t stand further than 6 meters away.

    Follow the steps below to use the feature.

    1. Open up the Tesla app on your phone and navigate to Summon.
    2. Next press the smart summon icon. After loads you will see an app, the blue circle represents your location while the red arrow is your Tesla.
    3. Make sure you have a clear line of sight. There are two modes available, you can select the come to me mode which will follow you to your location and then park. There is also target mode which moves your Tesla to a desired location you have set on the map. You will get a text when it reaches the set location.
    4. To allow your Tesla to move you need to hold the button down, if you release the car will stop.

    When moving, the Tesla’s mirrors will fold in to avoid collisions and the hazard lights will be flashing.


    If you have HomeLink set up you can also automatically open and close your garage doors while your Tesla parks. To use this go into autopilot, customize the Summon then click Auto Homelink.

    What’s The Difference Between Summon & Smart Summon?

    The main difference between the software is that Summon can only move around an object laterally, Smart Summon can steer around obstacles, making it ‘smarter’.

    Summon is meant for parking help while Smart Summon allows the car to ‘follow’ you to your location.

    The Disadvantages Of Smart Summon

    Smart Summon is a great step forward in Tesla’s autopilot system. But, there is no doubt this feature does come with some limitations.

    We’ve listed a few of them below.

    • GPS/network isn’t always reliable – The location part of the summoning is dependent on your mobile network and GPS. A bad signal means the feature may not work.
    • Not for public roads – Smart Summon is not safe enough to use on public roads. You’re limited to empty parking lots or driveways with this feature.
    • Stopping is unreliable – There is a delay when stopping your Tesla after releasing the button. Stopping your Tesla fast may not always be possible.
    • Supervision needed – Everyday scenarios are unpredictable. When using the summon features Tesla states you need to watch the car with clear vision at all times.
    • Might not work in certain weather conditions – Heavy rain, snow, or fog can interfere with the sensors of the car. This can cause them not to work.
    • Limited range – Both the Smart Summon and Summon have quite a short range. It isn’t a great feature if you want to summon the car from a long distance.
    • Doesn’t work on incline – The feature does not work if the driving path is sloped. It also has trouble going over raised concrete edges.

    Is It Legal To Use Smart Summon?

    Smart Summon comes with its risks, it isn’t always reliable and doesn’t always detect objects, so is it even legal to use?

    Most countries do regard Smart Summon as legal since it’s not considered advanced enough to be classed as autonomous driving. You have to be monitoring the car at all times.

    Different local laws may vary and many countries haven’t got clear regulations surrounding this. Tesla states you should only be using the feature on private property, car parks, or driveways.

    If an accident happens while using Smart Summon, you would be liable as the owner.

    Our Verdict

    Summon and Smart Summon are exciting developments to Tesla’s enhanced autopilot and FSD technology. It adds convenience and ease when parking your Tesla or getting to it.

    That being said, it doesn’t come without its limitations.

    Read this article to learn more information about Tesla Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability.

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