Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, has confirmed that Tesla electric vehicles will see a number of new user features rolled out as soon as "next week".
First, Sentry Mode, which provides a 360-degree video feed of a Tesla vehicle's surroundings, so that owners can check up on their electric car using just their phone.
Tesla cars start at $35,000 for the Tesla Model 3, while the iconic Tesla Roadster was previously on sale for upwards of $200,000 – so it's understandable that Tesla customers want to make sure their purchases stay safe.
The second feature, Dog Mode, would display a message on the car's dashboard when pets were left in the car, alerting concerned passersby that the owner would be back imminently to look after their lone canine – and should regulate the car's temperature to keep the dog comfortable. Equally important, if not as financially ruinous as a damaged electric car.
Musk took to Twitter in response to an account called Tesla Owners Silicon Valley (you can guess why they're called that), which posted a photo of a Tesla vehicle with its window smashed in, asking when improved security features would arrive. You can see the exchange below.
Sentry Mode (and Dog Mode) roll out next weekFebruary 7, 2019
While two new security features are certainly practical uses for the Tesla team to develop and provide to its customers, the Dog Mode also reflects on a growing interest in using modern tech developments to enhance the raising and care of domestic animals.
There's a burgeoning market for animal wearables to track your pet's health and location - the way you would yourself with a Fitbit or Apple Watch – and manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon with everything from smart collars to food bowls with facial recognition.
With Tesla's incoming update, at least, we're hoping the focus on animals' well-being sees fewer animals suffering in the summer heat – if its customers are actually coming back when they say they will...
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Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.