Tesla’s Sentry mode, the feature that uses the car’s cameras as a surveillance system to catch would-be thieves and vandals, has been upgraded to let owners view a livestream, Electrek reports. The “Sentry Mode Live Camera Access” feature is rolling out with Tesla’s 2021.36.8 software update, but only appears to work with the manufacturer’s iOS app at present. An Android release is yet to be confirmed.
“You can now remotely view your car’s surroundings when parked to confirm the safety of your environment before returning to your car,” is how Tesla’s release notes describe the new feature. It’s a significant upgrade for the vehicle’s Sentry Mode feature, which originally launched in 2019. Although there have been workarounds, Sentry Mode has until now recorded footage locally, which is great for having a record of incidents after the fact, but doesn’t give much of an indication of what’s currently happening to your car. In a tweet, CEO Elon Musk adds that the feature also lets owners remotely talk through the car’s speaker when enabled.
You can also talk through the car speaker. Great for practical jokes :)— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 27, 2021
The feature is included with Tesla’s Premium Connectivity subscription, which costs $10 a month after an initial free trial (currently 30 days for Model 3 and Y purchases, and one year with the Model S and X). Other features of the Premium Connectivity feature include access to video and music streaming services via the car’s infotainment center, as well as other features like live traffic visualization.
According to Tesla’s release notes, footage streamed from the car is end-to-end encrypted, which means only you’re able to view the footage. Just watch out for increased battery drain, which Tesla owners have reported can increase when using Sentry Mode.