Tesla is working on ‘Sentry Mode’ for 360° dashcam surveillance, says Elon Musk

Tesla is working to expand on its TeslaCam dashcam feature with a ‘Sentry Mode’ for 360° surveillance and it’s “coming soon”, according to Elon Musk. Late last year, Tesla introduced its over-the-air dashcam feature using an Autopilot camera.

Under the first version of the feature, Tesla owners needed a USB flash drive with “as much available storage as possible”, and it needs to be formatted in FAT32. The drive needed a manually created folder called “TeslaCam” and be plugged into one of the front USB ports.

Once plugged in, the vehicle should recognize it and a dashcam icon appears in the status bar at the top of your touchscreen.

At that point, the dashcam automatically begins recording and you can control the dashcam by pressing the icon. When the feature is in use, it records for an hour before overwriting the old videos.

The drive can archive the most recent ten minutes of video by tapping the dashcam icon while recording. Those videos will be saved with a timestamp and will not be overwritten.

It is impressive for Tesla to release a software feature that could technically replace a device that is generally bought as an aftermarket product, but it also featured several limitations.

The field of view is limited to Autopilot’s narrow forward facing camera.

After the release of the feature, CEO Elon Musk said that future versions will use more Autopilot cameras and have a parking mode.

In a November Tweet, Musk asked for feature requests and Seth seemed to have a fan favorite on his hands:

It sounds like it will be called ‘Tesla Sentry Mode’ based on a comment from Musk in response to an owner asking for 360° surveillance around the car:

Musk also noted that it will only be for vehicles with the ‘Enhanced Autopilot’ package.

In the release notes of the first version of ‘TeslaCam’, the automaker noted that the feature would only work on vehicles equipped with Autopilot 2.5 hardware.

Update: Musk actually clarified and said that it’s not linked to the ‘Enhanced Autopilot’ package but to vehicles with the AP 2.0+ hardware:

Tesla vehicles have recently been subject to a series of break-ins and this feature could potentially help prevent that.

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