Tesla Motors modifies autopilot feature in Model S sedans and introduces Summon
A Model S outside one of Tesla's showroomsGetty Images

Tesla Motors has updated its autopilot driving systems in its Model S sedans, besides launching the Summon app for both Models S and X that will enable drivers to remotely access and operate the car's autopilot system. The electric car company said on 10 January that it intends to put new restrictions on hands-free operation of its autopilot systems.

According to Tesla, the autopilot features will now be operational on residential roads or on roads that do not see much traffic. This will effectively reduce the speed limit of the autopilot system to operate at 8km an hour. Elon Musk, the chief executive of the car company, also said that the speed limit of the car will be reduced when anticipating curves or turns on the highway.

Tesla announced its intentions to upgrade its autopilot system a day prior to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The decision to upgrade followed a series of YouTube videos, posted in 2015 by various civilian drivers, showcasing the near misses of Model S' hands-free feature. At the time, Elon Musk had said that he would be considering curbing the autopilot feature to prevent people from doing "crazy things", according a Reuters report.

The company also introduced its newest feature Summon. The latest version of Tesla's software provides drivers with living the Bond dream, enabling them to remotely drive the car with just a tap on the phone. Essentially, drivers will be able to "summon" the car and let it do all the grunt work, including opening the garage doors, parking itself inside and shutting down. With Summon, you are Peirce Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies and the car is the answer to the prayers of those who are parallel-parking challenged.

Summon is still at the beta testing stage. However, in its blog, Tesla encouraged its drivers to test out its features on private property. In a characteristically dramatic move, Musk said that in two years' time, drivers will be able to "summon" their car from New York to Los Angeles.