In early 2019, Tesla rolled out an intriguing new feature called "Dog Mode" that was certain to be a hit with pet-loving owners of the innovative electric car. It's definitely worked out well for one pet owner in Ireland
When it was revealed, Tesla tweeted a video which demonstrated the feature, saying that “Dog Mode” lets drivers “set a cabin temperature to keep your dog comfortable while letting passersby know they don’t need to worry.”
Apparently someone unaware of this awesome capability did worry when they saw a poodle named Loki in the cab of Dublin resident Ross Hunt's Tesla Model S. They called police and Hunt was charged with an offense against Ireland's Animal, Health and Welfare Act.
Luckily for Hunt, his attorneys proved Dog Mode was on at the time and that Loki was luxuriating in a comfy 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Hunt was cleared of all charges.
“[Dog Mode] is in addition to existing Cabin Overheat Protection, which come on automatically at high temps to ensure any babies or pets in the car are safe,” Elon Musk said in a tweet response to the corporate account when the function was unveiled.
Musk also said at the time that the feature is not being immediately added to all Teslas, tweeting,“It will start out slow to make sure there are no corner case issues and then, if that looks good, speed up next week. We def need to add a “Request Latest Update” feature!”
Tesla's "Dog Mode" allows users to set their car to a cool temperature when they're out running an errand (Ross Hunt was having a business lunch), but it uses the car's jumbo dashboard screen to tell passerby the interior temperature along with the message: “My owner will be back soon. Don’t worry!”
According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have some form of a “hot car” laws, many allowing good samaritans or police officers to break into a car if they see an unattended animal in need, Forbes reports.
At the same time it introduced its pup-friendly function, Tesla also unveiled its new Sentry Mode, designed to add another layer of protection to the car.
Sentry Mode works by monitoring the car’s surroundings while it is locked and parked. In a blog post detailing sentry mode, Tesla said it uses the car’s external cameras to watch for potential threats.
If it’s in standby, the cameras are watching, ready to go into an "alert" state if someone does something shady, like leaning against the car or tries to break in.
The car then displays a message on its touchscreen saying that the cameras are recording.
More details here from Tesla's blog:
Sentry Mode adds a unique layer of protection to Tesla vehicles by continuously monitoring the environment around a car when it’s left unattended. When enabled, Sentry Mode enters a “Standby” state, like many home alarm systems, which uses the car’s external cameras to detect potential threats.
If a minimal threat is detected, such as someone leaning on a car, Sentry Mode switches to an “Alert” state and displays a message on the touchscreen warning that its cameras are recording.
If a more severe threat is detected, such as someone breaking a window, Sentry Mode switches to an “Alarm” state, which activates the car alarm, increases the brightness of the center display, and plays music at maximum volume from the car’s audio system.
If a car switches to “Alarm” state, owners will also receive an alert from their Tesla mobile app notifying them that an incident has occurred.
They’ll be able to download a video recording of an incident (which begins 10 minutes prior to the time a threat was detected) by inserting a formatted USB drive into their car before they enable Sentry Mode.
Wonder what Elon Musk will think of next?