Tesla rams a plane: accident in Smart Summon mode

Accident in Smart Summon mode on track
Tesla with parking autopilot sinks the plane

In the United States, Teslas are allowed to drive fully autonomously and slowly to their driver. The so-called Smart Summon mode is notorious for its errors. Now a Model X has crashed into a plane on a runway.

Smart Summon literally means “intelligent summon” – analogously, “intelligently agitate” fits better. Tesla calls this the function with which a driver can remotely drive his car completely autonomously. This is mainly intended for large car parks.

The distance should not be too great and the car is moving at maximum pace. So far, this feature has only been approved in Tesla’s home country of the United States – and for good reason: countless photos and videos are circulating the internet showing users how Tesla fails in Smart Summon mode. . For example, they go off the road. Now, there’s security camera footage showing a Tesla Model X (see image gallery) using Smart Summon Mode to shove a small plane out of the way.

Tesla rams a plane


Here, the Tesla in the tail area of ​​the plane has already turned the plane a little.

Aircraft shot down on display

The incident happened at a Cirrus Aircraft exhibit, based in Duluth, northeast Minnesota. The show itself took place at an airport in the US capital, Washington. A user uploaded a video filmed from a monitor to social news aggregator Reddit. Despite the poor image quality, you can see what’s going on: a white driverless Tesla Model X drives slowly across the airfield and heads straight for the tail of a brand new Cirrus Vision jet. The seven-seater business jet can be equipped with the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS): In the event of an emergency, a huge parachute is designed to save the plane from too violent an accident. The aircraft developers were unprepared for an attack from the ground: the Model X calmly slides under the aircraft’s tail, lifting the rear of the aircraft.

Tesla rams a plane


At the end, the slight crash rotates the exposed jet 90 degrees.

Dear Vision Jet

But even the collision does not cause the Tesla to stop. It easily rolls and turns the plane just over 90 degrees on the rain-soaked ground. Then the electric SUV stops briefly, drives a little further and finally comes to a stop. There were no occupants of the Tesla and the plane in the crash, and there were no bystanders in the immediate area. Fortunately, there were no injuries. So far there is no information on the extent of the damage to the plane and the car – the Vision Jet does not appear to be badly damaged. Nevertheless, the fuselage could be deformed – the inspection of the damage and a possible repair are certainly not cheap: a new jet costs around two million dollars (currently the equivalent of around 1.86 million euros).

Tesla Autopilot crash in Arizona

Arizona Department of Public Safety

Here, a Tesla had rammed into a stationary police car, which he had pushed into an ambulance. Fortunately, the accident did not cause any serious injuries.

Mischief from Reddit users – no comments from Elon Musk

So far, there has been no comment on the incident from communicative Tesla boss Elon Musk. However, Tesla had to put up with a lot of malice in Reddit comments because of its failed Smart Summon feature. Additionally, some users are expressing incomprehension about how someone can drive their Tesla autonomously through an aircraft display. In its user manual, Tesla reminds that users of Smart Summon technology bear full responsibility for their vehicle and must constantly monitor the movements of the car.


Yes, probably even earlier.

No, many issues remain unresolved.

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So far, Tesla and self-driving have been a never-ending tale of setbacks. The fatal failure of the so-called autopilot system combined with a lack of supervision by the user has already led to the most serious accidents on several occasions. Tesla technology was often unable to detect stationary obstacles on the side of the road, which is why a staggering number of Teslas have caused accidents with police and fire engines as well as ambulances in recent years.

Apparently, Tesla hasn’t mastered this problem to date – Tesla boss Elon Musk speculated that a large fleet of self-driving Tesla taxis would already be driving on public roads in early 2019. Currently, the cars are self-driving according to level 2 – the highest level of autonomy would be level 5. Only Mercedes has reached level 3 with its S-Class and its electric counterpart EQS. Technically, level 3 is still far from complete autonomy.

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