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Tesla’s new Dog and Sentry modes take care even when you don’t

Tesla has just announced a pair of new modes that make great use of the abundance of sensors and technology inside the company’s cars to make a driver’s life a little easier. First and most endearing is the Dog Mode: this will keep your pup at a comfortable temperature while you’re out of the car, and it’ll use the jumbo display at the center to show a message for passersby that you’ll be returning soon. The other major addition is Sentry Mode, which you can enable to have the car essentially guard itself, using its exterior cameras to monitor movement nearby and identify potential threats.

To turn on Dog Mode, you just go into your climate control settings and select the very literal “DOG” option, where you’ll be able to adjust the temperature to a preference within preset limits. Owners of non-canine pets would presumably be equally well-served by the functionality, should they find themselves driving with a furry friend. Tesla rightly advises that you still check local laws about leaving pets unattended in the car before relying on this new feature.

The Sentry Mode is really just a logical upgrade of a basic car alarm. If the Tesla detects a person leaning on it, for example, it’ll count that as a minimal threat, switch into an Alert state, and present a notification on its dash display that it’s taking a video recording of what’s happening. Should a window be smashed, however, the Alarm state is triggered, the display increases brightness, and the speakers start blaring out music at max volume. All of that is on top of the obvious and standard response of the car alarm going off. Sentry Mode needs to be enabled every time a user wants to rely on it, and it’ll download a video recording of any incidents to a formatted USB drive, should you have one around to plug in before turning the mode on.

The new update is rolling out to Model 3 cars in the United States from today, to be followed by Model S and Model X vehicles built after August 2017. It also includes improvements to dashcam functionality, though it’s still missing the promised Camper & Party mode that was supposed to arrive last year.

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