Tesla Patents Robotaxi Sanitization System - Reveals How It Will Work

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

A new patent claimed by Tesla has revealed some additional details on the upcoming Robotaxi’s Sanitization System – which will automatically sanitize enclosed spaces. It discusses how Tesla expects to use this system, including some hints on the upcoming Robotaxi app. Rimac also recently announced their upcoming robotaxi, which looks a lot like what we may see in Tesla’s Cybercab.

Most interesting is that this patent isn’t strictly based on some specific systems in the Robotaxi itself but is rather based upon an overall routine and process for sanitizing enclosed spaces that are shared among multiple people, particularly around vehicle interiors. This means it is likely applicable to all of Tesla’s vehicles.

You can view the entire patent here, although we went through it all so you wouldn’t have to.


The sanitization patent is focused on observing and analyzing the conditions of the closed space and then generating a sanitization routine based on the conditions, and then finally executing it. This essentially means that the system will scan a vehicle, determine what kind of cleaning is required, and then conduct that cleaning.

Analysis - Interior & Exterior

Let’s take a look at the analysis portion first. There are a few key detection parameters – ambient temperature, humidity, the presence of pathogens or unclean air, and the presence or absence of certain conditions in the enclosed environment. Using a multitude of sensor data, including some from the vehicle itself, the system will create a sanitization plan.

The robotaxi's interior
The robotaxi's interior
Not a Tesla App

The sanitization plan doesn’t just include the interior of the vehicle – but can also consider external parameters like weather and vehicle usage history. Rain, snow, and mud could be some pretty big factors for a Robotaxi cleanup, and taking these into account is essential.

How It’ll Clean

Once the plan is generated, the system will utilize various sanitization routines, based on the plan that was generated. This can include using the HVAC systems, using UV lighting, using steam generators, and a few other processes. The system can also take into account whether the sanitization process can be accomplished by the resources available – e.g. if there is a human or humanoid robot available to accomplish some of the tasks.

There are a few basic methods described in the patent on how Tesla expects to sanitize vehicles, including blowing warm air toward the steering wheel, doors and windows, and the central display to sanitize. It also has a method to expose various parts of the vehicle, including the seats and seatbelts, to a sanitizing UV light.

There are some interesting and unique methods – using active or passive elements to create heat and sanitizing surfaces like the central touchscreen. That’s not all – the patent also talks about tilting the vehicle’s central display to reflect the sanitizing UV light around the vehicle. Tesla has some unique ideas on how to implement its automated sanitization process.

If there’s additional sanitization needed, the system can cooperate with external service robots (possibly Tesla’s Optimus), to sanitize the interior and exterior of the vehicle. It can also direct the Full Self Driving system to adjust the vehicle’s orientation, exposing certain parts of the interior to sunlight.

When and Where to Sanitize

Tesla expects this sanitization routine to begin running immediately after a passenger exits the vehicle, reducing downtime as much as possible between potential passengers. If the sanitization system identifies that deeper cleaning is needed, the system will redirect the vehicle in need of cleaning to a cleaning location, while another vehicle will be directed to the next potential passenger.

There are some Robotaxi-unique features, such as a disinfecting spray system and special disinfecting UV light that are not present in any of Tesla’s current vehicles. Whether these current vehicles will receive a refit or a refresh to include these features remains up in the air at this time, however, the patent did notably use the Model Y as the figure vehicle.

Some other features, such as using humidity, temperature, seatbelt retractors, seat adjustment motors, and motorized vents – are already in every Tesla vehicle.

Killing Germs

One of the most unique things about this patent is Tesla has looked at various airborne pathogens – such as SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), amongst others, and identified what temperatures and humidities will kill these off. It will use this information to change the ambient environment in the vehicle to one unsuitable for pathogens to survive, helping to prevent illnesses from transferring from one passenger to the next.

We’re going to see some unique things at Tesla’s Robotaxi unveiling on 8/8, and some more details of how this system functions will probably come up then. Sanitization of Robotaxis is absolutely one of the key steps that will help to build Tesla’s ambitious Robotaxi fleet – and we’re hoping to see more on how they expect to charge Robotaxis in the upcoming weeks.

Musk Confirms Tesla FSD V12.5 Is Being Tested on Chuck’s Turn

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Yesterday, Elon Musk confirmed that FSD V12.5 is being tested on Chuck’s Unprotected Left Turn. This is a big step – as we usually see Chuck’s UPL getting tested a few weeks or months before the release of another set of software.

Chuck’s Left Turn

Chuck’s Unprotected Left Turn, or UPL, has regularly been seen as a challenge for FSD. Chuck’s UPL is a complex, 2-stage unprotected left turn into high-speed traffic. Ever since 2022, Tesla has been testing on Chuck’s UPL, which is in Jacksonville, Florida.

Vehicles are intersecting from different sides at different portions of the turn, making it one that is truly difficult for both humans and for FSD to get right. It can be a difficult challenge for regular drivers, and ensuring FSD gets it right every time Tesla releases a new build seems to have become a bit of a tradition for Tesla.

As such, we generally see Chuck’s UPL getting tested by Tesla’s ADAS testers prior to a new build being prepared for release to employees. These ADAS testers are pretty obvious – they’ve got manufacturer plates on, and the telltale 2-second halt at stop signs.

FSD V12.5 Around the Corner?

Although Tesla is already testing FSD 12.5, it doesn’t necessarily mean that v12.5 is around the corner just yet – there are still plenty of users that still need to receive FSD v12.4.3 before Tesla jumps to v12.5. About 20-25% of FSD users now have FSD 12.4.3, but most are still on update 2024.14.9 with FSD 12.3.6.

FSD v12.5 is expected to begin features such as fleet communication and the merger of city and highway software stacks, to FSD.

What we’re seeing in Florida on Chuck’s turn (Tesla refers to Chuck Cook in release notes) is likely just the ADAS testers working on the early builds of v12.5. As such, don’t get too wrapped up around v12.5 – most are still waiting for nag-free FSD for the most part.

Tesla Update 2024.26.1: Changes and More Information About Tesla's Summer Update

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla has been preparing another large update with its upcoming 2024.26, but as Tesla gets ready to release it to customers, it looks like we may see some changes. We’ve previously called this the Summer Update, and we’re going to stick with that.

Leave your Spring umbrella behind, and grab some sunglasses (or not, if you have FSD in North America) and let’s take a look at update 2024.26.1.

YouTube Music

It looks like YouTube Music, which was being tested in update 2024.26, isn’t available in 2024.26.1. YouTube may have been in early stages of testing or Tesla found some bugs with the feature that need to be addressed before a public release.

YouTube Music is still coming, but right now it looks like it’ll arrive in a point-release update, (e.g. 2024.26.X). This way, at least all the other features will arrive for everyone, rather than delaying the entire release for a few bugs with YouTube Music.

While we’re sad to see the delay for this music app, this is exactly why Tesla tests things in advance with their QA team and fleet of wave 1 employees. We’ll be glad to see it arrive in our cars when its bug-free, and at least we’re still getting Amazon Music with update 2024.26.1.

Updated Climate Panel

There’s a new Climate screen in update 2024.26, however, it looks like it’ll be just for the Model 3 and Model Y initially. The Model S and Model X use practically the same interface, but it may need some adjustments for the larger screen before it’s released. It’s not clear whether it’ll be available for the Cybertruck out of the gate.

We haven’t seen any images of the updated climate panel yet, but it looks like it’ll be a drastic departure from the screen we know today. It’s expected to include options to automate preheating and precooling of the vehicle on certain days and times and it could make other options more intuitive such as turning off vents on the passenger side (tap and hold the airwaves, but only works on some vehicles).

Other often requested features are to make it easier to turn on the Keep Climate, Dog Mode, and Camp Mode options when the vehicle is put into park.

Many customers have also requested passenger presets so the vehicle could remember settings for different passengers. This could be used for features like passenger climate settings, seat position, seat heater and more, but instead of multiple passenger settings, we may see Tesla add Passenger Profiles that could be used for a wide variety of features. Back in 2021, Musk agreed that it would be a good addition.

Castle Doombad Classic

One addition we saw from update 2024.26 to 2024.26.1 was the addition of the full Castle Doombad Classic game. Castle Doombad has you play as the villain as you defend your castle, but it’s only available on AMD Ryzen-based vehicles (MCU 3). It was released in the 2023 Christmas update and with this 2024.26.1 update the game goes from a demo to the full classic game.

Weather Forecasting

Finally, the Weather Forecast app – a pop-out display when you tap the temperature reading – will be arriving with support for North America, Europe, and other regions. Likely, this will include most regions, but you’ll need to shell out for Premium Connectivity.

The AQI (Air Quality Indicator) is already available in China and should be available in most regions as well, but it will also require Premium Connectivity. You can read more about the weather and AQI features here.

Release Date

Tesla appears close to starting the public release of this 2024.26.1 update. Tesla has recently released major versions (like 2024.26) to employees only and then released a bug fix update as a point release before making it available publicly.

Update 2024.26.1

FSD Supervised 12.3.6
Installed on 0% of fleet
0 Installs today
Last updated: Jul 16, 4:45 am UTC

We could see Tesla release 2024.26.1 as early as this week if further issues aren’t identified, although, in typical Tesla fashion, it’ll be a very gradual release.

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