HomeNewsTesla Model 3 Crashes Into Pole While Using 'Smart Summon' Feature

Tesla Model 3 Crashes Into Pole While Using ‘Smart Summon’ Feature

David Alford from Fresno, California witnessed his Tesla crash into a pole while using the Smart Summon feature. He was showing this feature to this son. As the car was parked into a parking spot, it was supposed to pull forward on its own and turn to the right. But surprisingly it went to the left and crashed into the pole. The Smart Summon feature works like a personal valet mode but without anyone driving the vehicle. This feature has been rolled out on a subscription basis about a month ago. The owner has to hold a button on the Tesla app and the car will automatically drive to the owner at a set speed limit. This was Alford’s second time using the feature after purchasing the subscription.

Tesla Model 3 Crashes Into Pole

Tesla Model 3 Crashes Into Pole While Using Smart Summon Feature

What Alford has to say

On Monday, July 19th, Alford was showcasing this feature to his 5-year-old son.

“When I pressed the button it told me that it was going to come out and go to the right,” said Alford. “But instead, it ran into the on the left side. It was supposed to go north and it went south.”

Alford is a software developer and a huge Tesla fan.

“I really like the company a lot,” said Alford. “This type of stuff intrigues me, I really like it but I just don’t like their response, I think they should be better about their customer service.

After this happened he took his car to the service centre at Fresno.

“I explained the situation and then he asked me if I was inside the car while it was operating.” said Alford, “I said no and he said, well it’s a beta software, and pretty much we can’t do anything about it and we’re not going to do anything about it.”

After Alford tried filling a service request.

“I got a response that to look over driver responsibility in the driver’s manual,” said Alford.

His insurance said that they’ll only cover it as a collision.

“I don’t want that on my insurance being that I was driving the car,” said Alford. “I feel a little helpless, I mean, it’s fun software you know, it’s this new thing that’s happening that’s too unpredictable to be given to the public in that stage, especially with a 2,000-pound car.”

Before taking the matter further Alford is waiting on a response from Tesla’s legal team and also an estimate on the damage caused. He thinks Tesla should cover the cost of the damage as he feels let down by the company he really looks up to. He also warns drivers not to use the smart summon feature.

Our Opinion

We think Tesla should cover the costs associated with the damage done to Alford’s Tesla. This software is in beta which tells us Tesla is aware it’s not fully ready. Tesla rolled out the beta update to all users only to make its software better. The more people use it the better it gets.  Any incident should be handled by Tesla without charging the customer as it’s a ‘beta’ software. This happened due to the software provided by the car’s company and the owner had no role to play.  If Tesla knew about the bad effects this beta feature can cause they should have not provided it to the public until it has reached its stable release. Then the case could have been totally different.

Soham Sawant
Soham Sawant
A Mechanical Engineer who is interested in everything related to mechanical and technology.


  1. I’ve been a beta user since 2018 model 3.
    I’ve used the summons feature about 50 times. It’s not perfect. You must have a straight line of vision to the car at all times. My last use was very close to this one. It was a simple, out of the parking slot, K-turn, then straight and then a left turn to a straight away. NOPE !!! car decides to go around a parking divider, jump the curb, and almost smashed into the tree in the middle of the divider. I let go of the button as soon as the car jumped the curb, 6-8 inches high. That was in the go to target mode. I wasn’t happy with that stunt. But I’m glad they changed it to “Hold” the screen and release to stop. If it was the older “ press to stop, I would have smashed the tree in response time.

  2. The Tesla manual clearly states that if the car is not going in the right direction you lift your finger from the button. You must hold your finger down the entire time period. If a person can’t understand the instructions, he should not use the device. This is not a Tesla problem. It is a human comprehension problem.

  3. I feel your pain… I use smart summon nearly every day, my job parking lot which I think my car learned it very quickly drove from its parking space and met me at the driveway like clockwork. Always let me know which direction it was going…sometimes changing it along the way ( sometimes the lot is full, cars are never in the same spot) now my new parking lot it’s a total disaster, as a rule of thumb, never operate the summon unless you can see exactly what the car is doing, if any doubt, let go of the button. I found my car 12 inches from another car, it from 200 feet, it looked like it was going to crash. It’s beta, and if everybody used smart summon and their car crashed into something or worse somebody? Tesla is not liable. I have over 50k miles of highway EAP, the only issues are when the lines on the ground are faded to the point that you can’t see it ( or the car can’t see it) then you will have to take over…be ready or know your highway. 2018 M3P

  4. It’s a 4,000 pound car. Batteries are heavy. These things will never be able do self navigate a gas station for a cup of coffee. There are no rules in a gas station parking lot.

  5. “2,000 pound car”? LMAO the battery alone is almost that much. More like 4000-5,000 pound car. But this is a ridiculous feature anyways. Maybe slightly useful for the extremely rare tight parking spot. A lot of $$$ being put into smoke n sparkles

  6. I have a Tesla with Full Self Driving software. On Oct 15, in Austin, we had finished lunch. Testa was parked around 100 ft away and I pressed Summon to have the car come to where we were. Completely line of sights, almost empty parking lot. The car while pulling out hit the car parked next to it and sustained body damage. No one was in the car.
    While I realize that the Summons software is in Beta, the car should not have hit the car safely parked next to it. I feel it is a big safety hazard to release software in a car which can cause damage including human. I feel Tesla should not be marketing and selling FDS software while claiming it is in Beta. This is false advertising and can put human lives in danger. I can afford to Ux the damage but I would like for Tesla to stop releasing untested software and refund buyers for FSD who are uncomfortable using it. Tesla has been making a lot of promises including how cool Summon works and I know from my own experience it does not and can cause damage. I will be happy support the investigation. I have saved the USB drive where Tesla might have captured information. In addition, Tesla has been collecting driving data and can share the data with the investigators.


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