Last year, Tesla surprised its customers when an over-the-air software update allowed them to get a glimpse of what riding in a self-driving car could be like.
Over the weekend, Tesla had another surprise for the owners of its electric cars. The company’s Version 7.1 software upgrade introduced Summon, a feature that allows about 60,000 Tesla drivers to call their cars to their locations from their smartphones.
With Summon, Tesla owners can command their cars to open and close their garage doors, park themselves and shut down. Owners can also use their phones to have their car open the garage door, leave the carport, close the door and come to them.
Tesla released a video showing the feature in action:
The upgrade affects Tesla’s Model S sedan and its new Model X SUV. On its website, the company points out that Summon is still in its Beta phase and encourages users to test the feature on private property.
To work correctly, Tesla owners have to align their vehicles within 33 feet of their parking space and stand within 10 feet of the vehicle. They may use their key fob or Tesla’s smartphone app to direct the car to park itself.
Several users have already put the technology to the test:
CEO Elon Musk said he expects customers eventually will be able to use Summon to call their cars from anywhere in the country, and the car will charge itself along the way, and sync with the customer’s calendar to know when to arrive.
The software update also added some changes to Tesla’s Autopilot feature. With the Version 7.1 upgrade, Autopilot can only be used at or slightly above the speed limit and switches off if the car enters a residential area or a road without a central divider.
Tesla called the upgrade “the next step toward developing fully autonomous driving capabilities.’’
Tesla announced it was expanding its presence in the Greater Boston area late last year. The company recently opened its first Boston-based store at the Shops at the Prudential Center with two more locations on the way.
According to data provided to Boston.com from the Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles program, the commonwealth issued 352 rebates to Tesla owners in 2015, more than any other automaker.
The most popular EVs for rebates in Massachusetts in 2015: