Tesla rolls out guarding Sentry Mode and cooling Dog Mode

New updates keep car safe and pets comfortable

Tesla is rolling out two new safety modes: Sentry Mode and Dog Mode. The first one uses the Autopilot cameras to monitor the car's surroundings for potential threats, very much in the style of " Knight Rider's" KITT. But instead of using the smooth, authoritative voice of William Daniels, the car displays a message on its dash screen in case anyone gets too close or leans on the car. If an intruder breaks a window despite warnings, the car engages Alert Mode, activating the alarm, brightening the screen and blaring music loudly. (We presume it auto-cues "Help" by the Beatles at maximum volume, but we might be wrong). Naturally, the car's owner is immediately notified, and since the cameras have been running, 10 minutes of alert-preceding surveillance footage will be saved on a USB drive.

Tesla announced in a blog post that Sentry Mode must be enabled from the safety controls menu each time a driver wants to use it. The feature started to be rolled out yesterday to U.S.-market Model 3 vehicles, followed by Model S and Model X cars built after August 2017. These have the Autopilot 2+ system required for Sentry Mode to work.

As for Dog Mode, it's not a guard dog feature that will have the car barking — it's a cabin temperature control mode for the occasions when you have to leave your dog in the car. It will cool the cabin so that pets can stay in the car in comfort. In addition, the mode also displays a notification on the big screen, telling onlookers that the pets inside the car are cooled and there's no need to break a window to help them. You just have to hope a Good Samaritan would think to look at the screen before grabbing a hammer.

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