The slow-motion tragedy was caught on security video at an airport event.
Tesla's vehicles, like the Tesla Model 3, feature neat tech, but things can get hairy quickly when something doesn't work correctly. A recent Reddit post shows the expensive consequences when a Tesla owner misuses one of the car's semi-autonomous driving features. In the video posted to the r/flying subreddit, a Tesla Model Y using Smart Summon runs into a stationary Cirrus Vision jet, making for what could be one expensive crash.
The Smart Summon feature works using Tesla's app and only functions when the driver's finger is pressing the button. Lifting off the button causes the car to stop, so it's puzzling to see this happen. This collision was a slow-motion tragedy, with plenty of time for the owner to react before the Model Y plowed into the jet. Perhaps a testament to the Tesla's sturdiness, it appears to lift and carry the plane's tail almost 90 degrees before casually continuing its journey.
Tesla Summon has been a thing for years, but in 2019 the system got a significant upgrade to Smart Summon. The update increased functionality from a simple parking maneuver to the ability to navigate complicated scenarios like parking garages or even airfields. The idea is that the Tesla could meet its owner to prevent having to carry heavy bags across a parking lot or walk out in nasty weather, but it's not perfect.
Tesla owners report that Smart Summon sometimes misses curbs and other oddly-shaped obstacles. Some note that their cars have trouble detecting tall obstacles like semi-truck trailers, which could explain how the Model Y got so off track. However, even the automaker's Smart Summon feature is not without its issues, as the NHTSA initiated an investigation of the function in 2019 as people realized the cars were prone to making mistakes if not appropriately monitored.
Teslas are expensive, but planes are on a whole other level. The Cirrus Vision aircraft in the video likely costs upwards of $2 million, a far cry from even the poshest Tesla. As for liability, Tesla has said that responsibility for a Smart Summon-related crash falls on the owner. We're guessing this video won't help their cause either, as it's clearly a case of negligence. At least it'll make for an exciting day at work for the insurance agent that takes the call.