Home » Video Appears To Show Tesla Driving Itself Into A Private Jet

Video Appears To Show Tesla Driving Itself Into A Private Jet


Conceptually, the idea of Tesla’s Smart Summon feature is cool: You’re in a parking lot, and you don’t feel like trudging all the way to your car (maybe there are vast muddy puddles, or you have a squirmy bag of live snakes or something to get to your car) so you use your phone to alert your car and just have it drive right to you. This is a limited form of Level 4 autonomy, really, and while the fact that it can manage it even a bit is impressive, that doesn’t mean it really works well. There have been issues with Summon since it was first released and in some ways it’s like playing with a 4,000 pound RC car in a public parking lot. This time, an issue with Smart Summon is getting a lot of attention, since a Model Y was caught on video, seemingly under Smart Summon control, crashing into an absurdly expensive private jet.

The video was first published on Reddit’s r/flying subreddit, where the jet with the distinctive-looking V-shaped tail was identified as a Cirrus Vision SF50, which sells for around $2 million and has been compared to a flying Tesla, ironically. The video also showed up on Twitter:


The incident seems to have happened at a Cirrus trade show, though that hasn’t been confirmed. (We really don’t have a lot of information on this video, though we’re looking).What is clear is that it did happen at an airport, and the Tesla Model Y, which appears to be un-crewed and un-passengered, slowly and deliberately drives right into the side of the plane, just behind the wings, and keeps pushing it, spinning the plane around by about 90° before stopping.

It’s not clear how much damage happened to either plane or car; the speeds were very low, so it’s possible damage is minimal.

More alarming is that the Tesla did not appear to have any idea it was about to hit a very noticeable private jet just sitting right there. Teslas do have cameras on the upper part of the windshield, in front of the rear view mirror assembly, so one would think the plane would have been visible as some sort of obstacle to the car’s self-driving system.

Granted, a small airplane isn’t a common thing for drivers to encounter, though it should at least read as a large, immobile object that’s best not driven into. Even if the classification system was stymied in this instance, that doesn’t really excuse not just stopping.

There are no impact sensors or ultrasonic sensor on the upper part of the body where the car contacted the plane, so that could be why the Model Y was so gleefully unaware it was shoving a plane around. Regardless, this incident doesn’t make the Smart Summon system seem particularly, you know, good. At the same time, I’m fairly sure the Smart Summon feature requires a user to hold a button on a mobile app; did someone just hold the button down as the car rammed into a jet? It all seems a bit odd.

Tesla, having no PR department, hasn’t bothered to comment on the story, though Elon Musk himself once referred to the Smart Summon feature as a “fun trick”:

I can’t say I disagree; watching that car slowly shove that private jet around was pretty fun!


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37 Responses

  1. Well apparently you have no idea what you’re talking about so I will straighten you out. This was not an error of Tesla software as you speculated. This was a Beta Test of the new dancing app that will be rolled at in just a few short months. As you can see it performs the swing your partner aspect flawlessly. This app will be available for $5000 in a few months in a limited capacity or you can buy it now for $10000 and guarantee your Tesla will dance with your jet plane. FYI rollout date is not guaranteed no refunds.
    Signed Elonds new PR department liaison.
    Note this is a closed address emails will not be returned.

  2. I’m encouraged by the lack of Tesla stans swarming the comments to whine about big ol’ mean Jason (so far, at least), but would still like to offer a hearty & preemptive “eat shit” to any Muskies who wander in.

    1. I feel all those people stayed behind along with all the negative trolls that Gawker media sites seem to attract…they know better plus it’s more a safe zone for them now that Torch has left

      1. Trolls gonna troll – that’s just their nature – but I anticipate the proprietors of this place will take a less herbaceous approach to troll management than do some other sites.

        And yes, hopefully most of the deplorables stayed behind on familiar turf.

  3. As I understand it, once an airplane is hit the slightest it will require a full inspection of the airframe before it is certified for flight. Little pricey.

    1. Good point. This looks like nothing, but will probably involve substantial cost to get it certified or whatever. The way it was moved so easily at low speed I was curious as to the weight. The tiny jet weighs 3700# while the car weighs 4500#

  4. I can understand the Tesla not realizing it was a plane in front of it, but like Torch said it should’ve realized there was something in the way.

    Is it not programmed to avoid tree branches or signs that may be at that height? What about the front of a gooseneck trailer that may be sitting in a parking lot?

    What if I have the engine out of one of my project cars just suspended on a hoist, is a Tesla just going to randomly drive into it because Elon didn’t think to program it to avoid ICE that may be dangling from a chain?

    1. What if I’m practicing on stilts or a unicycle in a parking lot? Does the Tesla say to itself, “Not sure what this is, so it must be nothing.”

    1. Not remote control. The car is driving and navigating itself, as long as you hold down a “button” on your app. A virtual dead-man switch, so to speak.

      1. Oh but have you read your contract? you need to go to arbitration first, and if you are lucky and get some media coverage maybe 2 years later get some attention…

  5. I can honestly say that I have no strong opinions on Tesla or Musk in general. His success or failure means very little to me personally, with the exception of SpaceX. I’m rooting for them.

    That being said, that Musk tweet describing Self Summon as a “fun trick” and implying it’s really not very useful at this time…..at least that’s got a ring of honesty about it.

  6. I get that accidents happen and it seems at least understandable that this could happen, but why didn’t the car stop? It hit the plane, then pushed it, then appeared to keep going as the video stopped.

  7. “The incident seems to have happened at a Cirrus trade show…”
    Oh, man! I’m waiting for it to drop that the Tesla was a Cirrus exec’s car.

  8. The Cirrus Vision Jet that it hits is actually pretty amazing by itself (first single-engine get to get FAA certification, I believe). Maybe someday there could be a Planetopian sub-series of articles? 😀

  9. Can I just say F Tesla FSD? Almost got into a head on collision with a Model 3 over the weekend because of it. I pulled onto the shoulder to turn right and the Model 3 for some reason thought it was then safe to take a left hand turn into my path. I saw the guy driving’s hands go quickly to the wheel to correct the car. At least he waved apologetically for the whole thing.

  10. Well, this just made by Friday, gents!

    Forget FSD, most owners would probably just settle for a properly functioning adaptive cruise control right about now.

    This is just the latest example of Tesla selling potentially dangerous software to gain real world AI experience at the expense of public safety while all the NHTSA can do is try to play catch up after the fact.

    Jan 2022
    Elon Musk Promises Full Self-Driving Teslas in 2022. “Being safer than a human is a low standard, not a high standard.”

    Feb 2022
    53,822 Tesla’s under recall, NHSTA ordering roll back a self-driving feature that caused the company’s cars to break the law. “Rolling Stop Feature”.
    -Tesla under investigation for “Phantom Braking”, 416,000 vehicles affected, in the complaints owners say they’ve nearly been rear-ended after their vehicles brake unexpectedly.

    While Elon Musk said “there were no safety issues,” federal regulators disagree.

    March 2022
    Tesla fired an employee after he posted driverless tech reviews on YouTube.
    He says he never showed unreleased products or company secrets, but some of his videos showed the system not working perfectly.

    April 2022
    Musk promises robotaxis by 2024

    April 2022 Tesla Q1 Shareholder Meeting:
    “With respect to full-self driving, of any technology development I’ve ever been involved in, I’ve never really seen more kind of false dawns where it seems like we’re going to break through but we don’t.”
    He encouraged people to join Tesla’s FSD Beta program, which requires owners to buy or subscribe to Tesla’s FSD driver assistance package that costs owners $12,000.

    “So that’s my recommendation, is join the full self-driving beta program, and experience it for yourself.”

  11. I love how the “feature” not only allows the car to hit the plane it doesn’t immediately stop the car, it lets it push it around a bit first. That is top notch Technology. They have managed to replicate someone having some sort of medical emergency behind the wheel. That or a run away Toddler behind the wheel maybe.

  12. That poor little Cirrus, having to share a taxiway with an inept tesla owner. Cute little jet though, unfortunately it probably wont be going anywhere anytime soon if the FAA has anything to say about it.

  13. Summon mode simulates the elderly woman who drives her Camry forward into a donut shop while trying to back out of a parking space. It’s very advanced (in age) AI.

    1. I was going to say – I know Tesla hides a lot of games and novelty items in their infotainment system to keep people occupied during recharging, maybe their FSD has an elderly Florida driver in a Publix parking lot mode (for entertainment purposes only)?

  14. Somethin,, somethin, Tesla-stans, blah, blah, blah. That poor plane. I wonder what took the owner so long to stop the summon feature. Probably bragging about the Tesla.

    1. Typical Tesla Owner: Lookie here Jeff, I can have my car come to me just by pushing a button on an app in my phone..Oh look, it also got me a plane on the way back!!!! Elon Musk is a God and will fix everything that’s wrong with the world!!!

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