If the events of the past year have taught us anything, it’s that when it comes to bending Elon Musk’s ear, Twitter is his direct line of communication. So when Model 3 owner Josh Atchley tweeted a request to the Tesla Chief Executive for a petsafe ‘dog mode’, “Where the music plays and the ac is on, with a display on screen saying “I’m fine, my owner will be right back”?”, he probably didn’t expect that within four months, Tesla would be rolling out a dog friendly update for pet owners – but, this is 2019 and so of course it has.
Equally, in January, another Tesla owner, Andy Sutton sent a tweet Musk’s way suggesting Tesla implement a security system that takes advantage of the car’s 360-degree camera after discovering a dent in his car. After seeing the tweet, Musk replied “Tesla Sentry Mode coming soon for all cars with Enhanced Autopilot.”
Now, Musk has confirmed (via Twitter, natch) that 'Dog Mode’ and ‘Sentry Mode’ are ready to roll out via an over-the-air-update pushed to Tesla vehicles at no charge. While locking an animal in a car is never a good idea, Dog Mode will at least put owners’ minds at ease for brief periods of time. It will likely make use of Tesla’s Cabin Overheat Protection, a feature that engages climate control to prevent extreme temperatures, but instead, keep the climate system running as normal. It’s not yet known if Atchley’s suggestion of a message on the screen has been taken on board – and it wouldn’t be a bad idea, at least to keep the public’s mind at ease.
Sentry Mode is designed to detect and record a robbery or damage to a car, using Tesla’s Autopilot camera system. Halfway through last year, we saw an update that introduced a dashcam feature using the front-facing camera and since then, there has been more and more talk about how to take advantage of the cameras, beyond parking and active safety assistance.
If being able to record those responsible for breaking-in and/or damaging your vehicle isn’t enough of a deterrent, Musk also tweeted that Sentry Mode will be fitted with an easter egg that would blast Bach’s dramatic Toccatta and Fugue in D Minor and, hilariously, “Keep Summer Safe” – from a cult episode of Rick and Morty that sees an AI-enhanced vehicle take security to chilling levels.
A new software update (Version 9 2019.4) is on the near horizon that adds a constant Blind Spot Warning Chime (currently Teslas only chime during a lane change) and Auto-Folding Mirrors Based on Location feature that integrates with HomeLink and GPS, however, it's unclear if Dog Mode and Sentry Mode are included in this update.
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