Tesla to implement new hazard light system via software update

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla to implement new hazards light pattern that drastically improves safety
Tesla to implement new hazards light pattern that drastically improves safety
Emergency Safety Solutions/YouTube

A small, four-year-old company in Houston, Texas, has been using a Tesla Model 3 to demonstrate its revolutionary hazard warning system. Now, their system will be in millions of Teslas.

Emergency Safety Solutions, Inc. (ESS), is the creator of HELP, which stands for Hazard Enhanced Location Protocol. The company claims its system significantly improves driver safety. Tesla, which usually develops its systems, and rarely uses external programs, will be the first automaker to implement HELP in its vehicles.

ESS says that every seven minutes, there is a crash involving a disabled vehicle on American roadways. These crashes kill or injure 15,000 people annually. The company also states the main factor in those crashes is an ineffective hazard light system that is not getting the attention of drivers. The hazard light system was created more than 70 years ago and hasn't been improved since.

According to ESS, HELP will: "provide advanced lighting alerts and digital location-based alerts to greatly improve advance warning communications to drivers." Virginia Tech Transportation Institute studied several lighting combinations and found that 4hz to 6Hz flash frequencies greatly improved drivers' attention. The current system is 1.5Hz.

Researchers then took the 5Hz system to the street and found that drivers responded 12 seconds earlier. They also discovered that drivers moved over 360 meters or nearly four football fields away from the disabled car. In addition, drivers moving to the left of a disabled car jumped from 30 percent with the current system to 87 percent with HELP.

The flashing lights will undoubtedly improve safety, but the system also sends a digital signal to alert drivers using in-car or phone navigation that there is a hazard ahead. The early warning will allow drivers to be warned much sooner than just the visual blinking lights system. Additionally, the HELP system can be manually activated or it will automatically turn on if a collision is detected or an airbag is deployed.

Tom Metzger, CEO of ESS, said, "Tesla is a leader in bringing first-time innovation to passenger vehicles and is leading the way by implementing HELP technology on potentially millions of Tesla vehicles worldwide. It's a monumental step in the effort to overcome the troubling safety issue of crashes into disabled and vulnerable vehicles, which tragically injure or kill tens of thousands around the world each year."

New Hazard Light Pattern on a Model 3

Tesla will implement these changes to these existing vehicles through a software update. It's a rare step for Tesla, which usually creates its own systems and improves traditional programs (Tesla recently improved the seatbelt).

This time Tesla found a company that has done everything necessary to improve this aspect of vehicle safety, so why recreate the wheel?

Why Tesla Doesn't Need a Public Relations Department

By Kevin Armstrong
Does Tesla need a PR department?
Does Tesla need a PR department?
Tesla

Tesla is a regular in the news cycle; if it's not about the vehicle, it's about the CEO. It's no secret Tesla stock is down, and investors who are long on the stock have lost a considerable amount over the past month. One of those investors is Gary Black, the Future Fund managing partner, who said in August that Tesla is the fund's largest position. Black is calling on Tesla to hire a public relations department to inform the media and the public of the positives around the brand.

Oddly enough, at the shareholders' event in August, Black said, "the thing we worry about most is not PR; it's succession." Now it seems that is what Black is worried about. He recently tweeted: People can't complain about the media if TSLA refuses to correct articles that are wrong, or worse, won't maintain relationships with TSLA beat reporters and editors so they can get TSLA's POV out when needed. Strong PR will be needed to sell FSD safety. Think long-term.

Black's stance may be understandable to some, especially those who have watched their trading account shrink, but it's implausible because Tesla doesn't need a PR department.

Musk and the Mainstream Media Don't Mix

Musk is currently using his new company to hold mainstream media accountable. In case you missed it, he's releasing the Twitter Files, a detailed report backed up with real emails to show suppression of true stories.

The Tesla CEO also regularly calls out media outlets for false stories, misleading headlines and biased reporting. Musk will not hire a team to try to steer newsrooms, something he has so little respect for, and it's unlikely legacy media outlets will listen.

Media Biased Against Tesla

Bad news generates more views and clicks and keeps the advertisers paying. Even when the news isn't bad, take, for example, a recent Reliability Report by Consumer Reports. Most, if not all, mainstream media declared Tesla as the terrible one, even though Tesla moved up four spots from the previous year. It was hard to find a mention of the manufacturers that scored less. Those included Chevrolet, GMC, Volkswagen, Jeep, and Mercedes Benz. Yes, the expensive luxury brand was dead last in reliability. That is a story.

Reporters also picked up that electric vehicles scored low for reliability. Consumer Reports said it was because EVs are new on the market. However, scoring even lower were full-sized pickups. Those have been on the market for quite a bit longer.

Tesla, which also has not spent a dime on advertising, disbanded its public relations department in 2020. That's unheard of by a company its size, especially in the automotive sector. However, Tesla and Elon have something much better — you are reading it right now. Not a Tesla App is one of several blog sites that publish news about Tesla daily. Many of these websites have writers who own Teslas. The stories are much more accurate, positive and just plain better than anything readers will find in the mainstream. Who says bias must be negative?

Word of Mouth Advertising

Now add hundreds, maybe even thousands of loyal enthusiasts who defend and promote Tesla on social media platforms. Next, throw into the mix the hundreds of thousands of Tesla owners who quite often are spokespeople for the company whenever they get out of the car. I've been sure to add 10 minutes of travel time to my drives because I'm likely to get asked some questions at the grocery store or car wash.

This kind of advertising money cannot buy, and it's the kind of positive publicity media will not share. So while Black's concerns are legitimate, a PR department is not the solution. Instead, Tesla needs to keep doing what it's been doing and let the product, its fans and the Tesla-inspired websites do the rest.

More About Tesla’s WiFi Garage Door Support, Its Cost and Features

By Nuno Cristovao
How MyQ will be integrated in Tesla vehicles
How MyQ will be integrated in Tesla vehicles
MyQ

Tesla is getting ready to introduce WiFi garage door support to their vehicles through MyQ.

Since our article yesterday additional details have emerged about how MyQ will operate, which vehicles will be supported and whether there will be a cost to use the service. This information is based on a page that appeared briefly on MyQ's website but has since been removed.

Vehicles Supported

MyQ's website stated that support for their garage door openers would be coming to the Model 3 and Model Y. While this makes a lot of sense because those vehicles don't include a HomeLink module, we'd be surprised if Tesla didn't also add support for the Model S and Model X.

Cost

Let's get cost out of the way. Although MyQ does not charge a fee today to remotely open and close their garage doors, they do plan on charging a fee to use their devices in vehicles. This could be looked at similarly to how some services are free to use on a PC but require a subscription to use on your mobile phone.

The price posted on MyQ's website was a five-year plan for $179, which is still cheaper than Tesla's $350 installation cost for HomeLink.

Unfortunately, this removes a big benefit we thought MyQ would have over buying a HomeLink module for the Model 3 or Model Y. For Model S and Model X owners who already have HomeLink included in their vehicles, it may not make as much sense.

However, MyQ does provide some advantages over HomeLink.

Integration

The good news is that MyQ integration will be very similar to HomeLink, and better in some ways. What appears to be a rendering of the feature working in a Tesla was also posted to their website which shows off a screen very similar to HomeLink.

On the MyQ settings screen, you'll have a list of supported devices on the left side, such as garage doors, gates and possibly lights, but we haven't see any evidence of the latter yet.

On the right side, you'll see options pertaining to the device selected, such as its current state, whether the garage door should auto-open or close and the distance when the device should be triggered.

You'll also be able to have the vehicle fold in its mirrors when reaching the target location.

If you've used HomeLink, this should all look very familiar since it's almost exactly the same. However, there are a couple of differences that give the advantage to MyQ.

The first is that MyQ is a smarter system and it knows the state of your garage door. So if you're arriving home and the garage door is already open, it won't try to close it on you.

The other advantage is distance. Since MyQ works over the internet you'll be able to trigger the garage door or gate from further down the driveway, giving the door plenty of time to fully open before you arrive.

MyQ supports an array of devices, but it waits to be seen whether there will be support for these additional devices such as lights and door locks.

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