Tech

Tesla updates cars with a feature that lets owners summon them with no driver at the wheel, in-car karaoke, and more

Key Points
  • Tesla's Version 10 software update includes Smart Summon, which lets some car owners summon their car as long as it's within line of sight
  • It also adds connectivity to Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and a 'Car-aoke' feature with lyrics to sing along to songs.
Tesla Model 3
Source: Tesla

On Thursday, Tesla rolled out a software update bringing a slate of new features to customers' cars in the U.S., including in-car karaoke, entertainment services like Netflix and Hulu, and a feature that lets customers summon their cars like they're calling a pet -- no driver required.

Shares in Tesla rose more than 6 percent on Thursday after the upgrades were announced, and after Electrek, a blog for electric vehicle enthusiasts, reported a leaked company email in which Musk said that Tesla might be able to make 100,000 vehicle deliveries in the third quarter, which would be a record.

The most technically interesting feature in the Version 10 upgrade is Smart Summon, which will allow some Tesla customers to "enable their car to navigate a parking lot and come to them or their destination of choice, as long as their car is within their line of sight." In other words, Smart Summon could send a car with no driver behind the wheel down a driveway, or across a parking lot.

Tesla cautions drivers that when they are using Smart Summon they "must remain responsible for the car and monitor it and its surroundings at all times." Laws governing the use of autonomous vehicle technology are still evolving in the United States. Only customers with Full Self-Driving Capability or Enhanced Autopilot will get access to the Smart Summon feature.

The version 10 upgrade also allows Model S, Model X, and Model 3 cars to connect to a driver's Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu accounts so that they can watch videos, while parked, on the vehicles' iPad-like displays. The feature is expected to come in handy when customers wait and charge their vehicles.

China-based Tesla owners will soon be able to do the same with iQiyi and Tencent video.

Tesla is also rolling out a "Car-aoke" feature, widely requested by customers, which includes a library of music and song lyrics that passengers and drivers can use while parked or driving.

According to a study by DMEAutomotive, singing out loud is the top non-driving activity that people do in the car, and more than half of drivers do it when they're behind the wheel.

CEO Elon Musk promoted the update earlier in the day.

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