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Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Social media posts have been popping up in recent days of Tesla owners trying out their car's new "Smart Summon" feature.

Why it matters: As The Verge and others reported, Smart Summon "is already causing chaos in parking lots across America," suggesting the technology isn't ready or people are misusing it.

Details: Smart Summon was released last week as part of Tesla's V10 software update on its Model 3, S and X electric cars.

  • It's another incremental step toward self-driving cars.

How it works: the remote control-like function allows owners to use their smart phone to direct their vehicle to back out of a parking space and navigate up to 200 feet to pick them up.

  • In the announcement, Tesla said the feature could be used as long as the car is within the driver's line of sight.
  • "It's the perfect feature to use if you have an overflowing shopping cart, are dealing with a fussy child, or simply don't want to walk to your car through the rain."

Yes, but: In the V10 release notes, Tesla emphasized that the technology is only intended for use in private parking lots and driveways.

  • "You are still responsible for your car and must monitor it and its surroundings at all times and be within your line of sight because it may not detect all obstacles. Be especially careful around quick moving people, bicycles and cars."

My thought bubble: Tesla is beta-testing features on customers and its statements seem to be encouraging them to use Smart Summon in ways it wasn't intended. Meanwhile, its actions are shaping the public's perception of self-driving cars.

Go deeper: Tesla's next moment under the microscope

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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