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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

1 hour ago - World

China and Russia vaccinate the world — for now

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While the U.S. and Europe focus on vaccinating their own populations, China and Russia are sending millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries around the world.

Why it matters: China's double success in controlling its domestic outbreak and producing several viable vaccines has allowed it to focus on providing doses abroad — an effort that could help to save lives across several continents.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Report: China will dominate AI unless U.S. invests more

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S., which once had a dominant head start in artificial intelligence, now has just a few year's lead on China and risks being overtaken unless government steps in, according to a new report to Congress and the White House.

Why it matters: Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who chaired the committee that issued the report, tells Axios that the U.S. risks dire consequences if it fails to both invest in key technologies and fully integrate AI into the military.

Americans agree about more issues than they realize

Data: Populace Inc.; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Many Americans assume the rest of the country doesn't share their political and policy priorities — but they're often wrong, according to new polling by Populace, first seen by Axios.

Why it matters: The polling reveals that despite growing political polarization, Americans share similar long-term goals and priorities for the country.

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