Tesla has announced that it has begun rolling out Sentry Mode to Model 3 cars in the United States today. It will also follow this up by bringing the feature to Model S and Model X vehicles that were built after August 2017. With Sentry Mode, Tesla owners get an extra layer of security against theft, although it can’t prevent thefts altogether.
Explaining how the feature works, Tesla said:
“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 you’re away from the vehicle when it switches into alarm mode, you’ll get an alert from the Tesla mobile app letting you know what’s going on. There will also be a downloadable video showing the events that on-board cameras managed to record. The captured video begins 10 minutes before the threat was detected so you can see what was going on before the incident which could help police track down the perpetrator. In order to record film, you need to have inserted a formatted USB into the car before enabling Sentry Mode.
Tesla warns that Sentry Mode has to be enabled each time the driver wants to use the feature, so don’t assume it’s on by default. You can enable it by navigating to Controls > Safety & Security > Sentry Mode.