Federal Officials Contact Tesla About Feature That Lets Drivers ‘Summon’ Self-Driving Cars in Parking Lots

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A sign is posted at a Tesla showroom on November 5, 2013 in Palo Alto, California. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A sign is posted at a Tesla showroom on November 5, 2013 in Palo Alto, California. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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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 says it’s aware of reports about “Smart Summon” and is in contact with Tesla. The agency stopped short of saying it had opened a formal investigation.

Last week Tesla sent out an over-the-internet software update that allows some owners to let their cars travel through parking lots without a driver behind the wheel. The cars can be stopped remotely.

On Thursday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted the feature was used 550,000 within days.

But videos and pictures surfaced on social media reporting problems, including a crash and some near collisions.

Messages were left Thursday seeking comment from Tesla.

The agency says it won’t hesitate to take action if there’s a safety defect.

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