Tesla’s New Software Update Gives Sentry Mode An “Spy” Upgrade

Tesla has released a new vehicle software update (2021.36.8) which made way for the new feature called Sentry Mode Live Access. The new software update is essentially an upgrade for the Sentry Mode feature. Tesla set the stage for the feature in its most recent update to its companion mobile app where users can activate the newest feature.

Tesla Sentry Mode is an integrated surveillance system inside Tesla vehicles that utilizes autopilot or onboard cameras to keep the car safe while parked. This feature sends an alert whenever it detects a threat in its proximity. More specifically, it automatically starts recording a video along with activating the alarm system. This feature has come in handy for users in tracking their cars and preventing attempted thefts.

The latest update adding the Sentry Mode Live Camera Access feature provides an extra layer of security not only for Tesla vehicles but for their owners as well. They can utilize the feature to check out the surroundings to ensure it’s safe to go back to their car especially under unfavorable conditions. Moreover, it provides owners with the peace of mind of knowing they can keep a closer watch on their vehicles even without being physically near them.

‘Spy Mode’ On with Sentry Mode Live Camera Access

To enable (or disable) Sentry Mode Live Camera Access, simply go to the mobile app and tap Controls then Safety & Security. The latest update (Sentry Mode Live Camera Access) essentially activates ‘spy mode’ in that it allows the users to remotely access the camera feed and spy on the vehicle’s surroundings on their phone. Take note that this pertains to the live feed from your vehicle’s cameras which is certainly a cutting-edge upgrade. 

According to Tesla, the live feed is end-to-end encrypted. This means that the feed or data is encrypted at its origin and then decrypted at its destination. This further implies the data can’t be accessed midway or by anyone else except for the car owner – yes, supposedly not even by Tesla. End-to-end encryption is considered one of the most secure communication protocols that can be employed on consumer products to help ensure data privacy and consequently, the user’s security and safety.

This ‘spy mode’ feature is being introduced as a new Premium Connectivity feature. Premium Connectivity is a subscription feature introduced in 2018 to package Tesla’s more bandwidth-heavy features. 

The Premium Connectivity subscription comes at a price of $9.99 per month after an initial free trial. The free trial is currently for Model 3 and Y purchases, and one year for Model S and X purchases. This can be purchased through the Tesla mobile app. One can also subscribe by accessing your Tesla account on the web. This subscription service opens up several exclusive features to Tesla users. Some of the features included are satellite-view maps, live traffic visualization, internet browsing, music streaming, karaoke, and more. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, also believes the new feature will be great for practical jokes as it enables users to speak through their car speakers.

At the moment, the Sentry Mode Live Camera Access is exclusive to iOS apps that run on version 4.2.1 or later. The latest version of the Tesla mobile app must also be installed. There is yet to be an announcement when it will become available on the Tesla mobile app for Android devices.

In-Car Camera Monitoring

Tesla’s innovations, when it comes to its in-car camera features, are readily embraced by many. This is due to the convenience it allows them – imagine being able to keep a close eye on your car without the hassle of getting up and checking it physically. There’s also the added layer of security and safety, both for the vehicles and the owners themselves.

On the other hand, some remain skeptical about Tesla’s camera features. This mainly stems from concerns over in-car cameras monitoring too much. This could translate to a lack of privacy. At the same time, this could lead to potential legal issues depending on state and local laws regarding recording in public. Of course, there’s the additional expense, which in the case of Tesla, amounts to about $10 per month.

Ultimately though, the choice is yours.

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