It had to happen; Tesla, and Elon Musk, have finally gone to the dogs. The famously quirky and fast-reacting company has announced that it will launch 'Dog Mode' for its cars - via an over-the-air software update - this week.
Unusually, Dog Mode - which is designed to make the interior of a Tesla more pleasant for dogs, or other pets, that have been left in there - was not one of Musk’s own crazy ideas.
Twitter user Josh Atchley originally pitched the idea to social-media-addicted Musk in October last year, asking whether it would be possible to have a mode that would leave a Tesla’s air conditioning, and music, on while the car is parked, so he could leave his dog in the vehicle.
He also suggested it would be a good idea to leave a message on the giant multimedia screen saying “I’m fine, my owner will be right back.”
Why? Because dog owners are taking over the world, that’s why. No one has suggested that Dog Mode would work for children left in cars, of course, because that would still be a terrible, and illegal, idea.
(Hyundai’s Santa Fe takes a slightly different, but clever, approach to animals, or humans, you may have left in the car, perhaps by accident. The car has an ultrasonic sensor in the headliner to detect motion in the rear seats, which will then notify the driver to check back there after turning off the engine. If that doesn’t work, and the vehicle is locked with someone, or some living thing, inside, the system sets off an alarm - it’s the kind of high-tech idea Musk would be proud of.)
Imagine Mr Atchley’s surprise when Musk Tweeted back, “Yes”. On February 7th, Musk updated him with another Tweet announcing “Sentry Mode (and Dog Mode) roll out next week”.
Sentry Mode was yet another idea pitched to Musk by a Twitter user, who requested a “360 dash-cam feature while parked”.
The concept, which is actually a very good one, is to use the various exterior cameras found on Tesla vehicles to constantly monitor what’s happening around, or to, the vehicle while it’s parked.
This would mean that if your car was scratched, bumped or even broken into, you’d have video evidence to provide to authorities.
If you’ve got an idea for a feature that Tesla should add to its cars (don’t try “make them fly” because Musk is already working on that one, via another Tweet.), feel free to get on Twitter and suggest it. It really is that easy.
Is this a smart idea, or has Tesla gone to the dogs? Tell us what you think in the comments below.