U.S. safety agency gathering info on Tesla parking lot feature

The U.S. government's highway safety agency is gathering information on reports of malfunctions with a Tesla feature that lets drivers summon their cars in parking lots.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stopped short of saying it had opened a formal investigation. However, in a statement Thursday it said that it was aware of the reports about "Smart Summon" and was in contact with the company.

"The agency will not hesitate to act if it finds evidence of a safety-related defect," NHTSA said.

Last week, Tesla sent out an over-the-internet software update that allows customers to auto-navigate their car through a parking lot. The feature can only be used if a driver can see their vehicle, the company's website says.

However, after the update, videos and pictures highlighting the problems with this feature surfaced on social media. More so, even a promotional video on Tesla's website shows a driver-less car going the wrong way in a parking lot.

One owner said his car ran into the side of his garage while "Smart Summon" was working, while another showed his car narrowly missing a crash with crossing traffic. Meanwhile, another said his car was about to hit a golf cart before he was able to stop it.

Tesla's website cautions that drivers who use "Smart Summon" are responsible for the car and must monitor it at all times. The cars can be stopped remotely.

Messages were left Thursday seeking comment from the company, which is based in Palo Alto, California.

(Top image via AP)

Source(s): AP