PhotoNo matter how safe a car is, the idiot behind the wheel is always a problem, especially when he doesn't stay behind the wheel. As a result, Tesla engineers are making some modifications to put drivers in their place and keep them there.

Tesla officials became alarmed when they saw social media videos of Tesla owners abusing the electric cars' autopilot feature by lolling about in the back seat or reading a book while their car drove itself down the street.

Hoping to put an end to such foolishness, the company has modified the autopilot software so that it will no longer work on residential streets, defined as those without a center divider. It also won't go more than 5 miles per hour over the speed limit. 

Tesla added the autopilot feature last October, downloading it as a software update. It's now modifying it through an over-the-air download as well.

Automated valet

But while taking something away, Tesla is also giving something perhaps even more valuable -- you might call it a valet parking feature. The company says the feature allows drivers to get out of the car and instruct it to park itself.

The car can also be "summoned" from its parking spot. No longer must you strain your voice instructing James to bring the car around. Simply press a button and your Tesla glides out of its parking spot and pulls up to wherever you're standing.

The summon feature now works only at close range but Tesla founder Elon Musk has been telling reporters that it may soon work over much greater distances -- even coast-to-coast, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

Forget where you left your darned car? Press the "summon" button and, wherever it is, your Tesla will come to you, just like your trusty dog Spot.

Musk conceded, however, that long-distance summoning will require more cameras and sensors than Teslas currently have, so it won't be a feature that can be added through a download.


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