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Tesla Owners Improve Smart Summon Routes by Updating Open Street Maps

by Claribelle Deveza November 06, 2019


Tesla owners recently found a way to improve their Smart Summon routes by simply updating Open Source Maps (OSM), an open-source collaborative map project that can be edited by its users. These Tesla Motors Club members’ initiative reveals how much the successful rollout of Elon Musk’s Full Self-Driving suite relies on the efforts of the community.

Smart Summon has come a long way since its original version, which was just called Summon. However, it still needs a lot of work, especially when it comes to efficiency. One of the main issues with Smart Summon is the routes it takes to get the all-electric vehicle to its operator.

Sometimes, Smart Summon will choose to take a longer route to its target destination despite the presence of a shorter, more efficient one. This little issue is quite common with navigation software, like Waze. The popular navigation software is pretty capable, but it is also known for taking drivers through weird, sometimes shady routes rather than more well-known ones.

Luckily, it appears that Tesla owners can help Smart Summon choose better routes. Tesla Motors Club member Armee_1 realized that the full self-driving feature uses Open Street Maps (OSM) while it maneuvers through parking lots.

“I read online that Tesla might be using OSM, so I check(ed) my area. Sure enough, areas where it worked awesome were mapped, and areas that failed were not,” he wrote.

An OSM account is needed to edit the navigation software’s maps, so Armee_1 created one and started working on his routes. After his edits, Smart Summon exhibited a change in behavior. The illustration below depicts these changes, with the image on the right showing Smart Summon's route before OSM was updated, and the picture on the right showing the route after the map data was updated.

Credit: Armee_1/Tesla Motors Club

Fellow TMC member bijan seemed to have the same idea and told other Tesla owners how to improve Smart Summon routes in their respective areas.

“Create account. Log in with your account. Find the parking lot you want to edit. Click edit. Click line. Click where you want the parking aisle to start, click along the path of the parking aisle (it will create line segments, in the simplest case you click once at each end of the aisle), when done click on the beginning or endpoint to complete the path. On the left side where it says select feature type, start typing parking aisle and then click on that when it appears. Save your changes. There’s a tutorial when you sign up. That shows you how to do paths, areas, and points of interest,” he wrote.

They may not know it, but these Tesla owners have helped Elon Musk and his all-electric car company get a bit closer to true full self-driving. Musk plans to create an autonomous fleet in the future once the company’s full self-driving suite has evolved enough. To prepare for full autonomy, Musk and everyone at Tesla is relying on human drivers to provide valuable real-world data from their experiences on the road.

Every Tesla AI chip in each vehicle records and saves every piece of information it can and sends it to the Neural Net. So every time Tesla owners drive their all-electric vehicles, they are helping the Neural Net gather data, which will eventually culminate in full self-driving capabilities.

Smart Summon was recently released in September and is currently listed as part of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving package. By improving the routes Smart Summon takes through OSM, Tesla owners are basically optimizing the Neural Net.

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