Tesla's newest feature appears to be more of a bug. Owners can now summon their cars from parking spaces with the push of a button--and kinks in the system have drawn the attention of a powerful road-safety regulator.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Administration is "in ongoing contact" with Tesla about its Smart Summon feature, Reuters reports. The feature launched last week as part of a large Tesla software update, and videos of cars navigating precarious situations while being summoned have flooded social media in the days since.
Some owners have complained about near-crashes with other cars. Others have claimed that the feature has caused their cars to drive into obstacles, leaving dents. "Smart Summon is only intended for use in private parking lots and driveways," reads a note on Tesla's website. "You are still responsible for your car and must monitor it and its surroundings at all times and be within your line of sight because it may not detect all obstacles."
The news of regulatory scrutiny emerged on the same day as Tesla reported record-high net orders and deliveries in 2019's third quarter. Analysts, however, doubt those figures will lead to a profitable quarter for the Palo Alto, California-based carmaker, which rarely reports quarterly profits. "Margins are likely to continue to be under pressure," Cowen managing director Jeffrey Osborne recently told clients, according to The New York Times. "We don't see sustainable profitability in the near to midterm."