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Regulators have OKd a ‘follow you like a pet’ feature in Tesla cars, Elon Musk says

In this Dec. 18, 2018, photo Tesla vehicles sit in a parking lot in Chicago. Shares of electric car
Elon Musk has promised a mobile app that will signal a Tesla to drive itself around a parking lot and find a spot, checking parking signs to make sure the spot is legal.
(Teresa Crawford / Associated Press)

For years, Chief Executive Elon Musk has been promising science-fiction-sounding remote control software for Tesla cars.

He’s promised a mobile app to signal a car to drive itself around a parking lot, find a spot and park, checking signs to make sure the spot is legal. In 2016, he told reporters that “within two years, you’ll be able to summon your car from across the country” — alerting a car parked in New York to drive itself and meet the owner in Los Angeles.

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(Twitter)

None of this has happened yet. But on Tuesday, Musk promised an “advanced summon” feature is “almost ready to roll out.”

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A basic summon option already lets Model S and X Teslas park themselves remotely on a driver’s command. With the new advanced summon, to be available to any Model S, X and 3 manufactured over the last two years, a person with a smartphone can tell a Tesla to “drive to your phone location & follow you like a pet,” Musk tweeted in October. “You’ll be able to drive it from our phone remotely like a big [remote control] car if in line of sight.”

In his Tuesday tweet, Musk said “regulators just approved” the feature, although he didn’t say which regulators. Such software does not require regulatory approval by the U.S. government under current federal law. He may have been talking about Europe, China or a U.S. state. Tesla did not return emails and phone calls requesting clarification.

russ.mitchell@latimes.com

Twitter: @russ1mitchell

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