Tesla's latest update lets you summon your car from the curb

Tesla motor
A Tesla motor - human drivers not required.

Electric car outfit Tesla is one of the companies at the forefront of the self-driving vehicle revolution, and it just pushed out a software update for its Model S motor that adds an interesting new feature called Summon.

As the name suggests, the new code enables you to summon your car from a distance of up to 39 feet (about 12 metres). If you're in a car park or you don't want to get wet crossing the road it could prove very handy indeed.

It also works in reverse - so your Model S can go off and park itself once you've stepped out of it. Tesla stresses that the feature is still in beta and should be used with caution for the time being.

Private roads only

There are some limitations: Summon must only be used on private property and flat roads, and for now you can only get the car to move forwards or backwards. "This feature is especially useful for parking in tight spaces and narrow garages," says Tesla.

Other improvements added by the new software include perpendicular parking capabilities and some tweaks to the Autosteer function that keeps you in the right line on motorways.

It might not change the lives of Tesla Model S owners but it's another step forward for autonomous car technology. Car makers say some self-driving capabilities should be built into most new cars by 2020.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.