Zoom announces its video conferencing app is coming to Tesla

By Gabe Rodriguez Morrison
Zoom announces Tesla integration at Zoomtopia Keynote
Zoom announces Tesla integration at Zoomtopia Keynote
Zoom

Elon has previously announced that video conference capabilities will be available in Teslas, but Zoom has now officially announced its video conferencing software will be available in Teslas soon.

Zoom made the announcement during its annual 2022 event, Zoomtopia.

Although Zoom made the announcement, it looks like the integration is being developed by Tesla.

Tesla looks to be leveraging Zoom's popular web interface for this new feature. This means that Zoom will function much like Netflix and Youtube currently do in the vehicle, where it's run in a chromeless browser and Tesla essentially builds on top of this.

The Zoom app is expected to become a part of Tesla Theater when it's released and is largely expected to function the same way, such as requiring Premium Connectivity and only being available while the vehicle is parked.

Camera and Resolution

Instead of requiring a separate camera, the Zoom app appears to utilize the vehicle's interior camera, which means it'll be the first time we have direct access to the cabin camera video stream, although hacks by GreenTheOnly have previously shown the capabilities of the camera.

The vehicle's cabin camera has a resolution of 1280x960, which is a 4:3 aspect ratio. However, Tesla may be cropping this camera feed to 16:9, which means it'll end up with a resolution of 1280x720, or 720p.

The only remaining cameras that will not be directly accessible by the driver will be the b-pillar cameras and two of the front-facing cameras.

Controls

The new Zoom controls are similar to those when on a phone call. In a Model 3 and Model Y, the controls will appear on the bottom left corner of the display and feature options to toggle the video and mic on and off.

The last two buttons appear to be used to view the participants on the call and end the meeting.

In the video, it was also shown that Zoom meeting links will now appear on your vehicle's calendar if available. Tapping on the link will automatically launch Zoom and start the meeting.

Vehicle Support

Since this new feature will likely rely on the vehicle's cabin camera, it will most likely be limited to the Model 3, Model Y and the new Model S and Model X.

During the announcement, Zoom said the feature was coming to “all new Tesla models soon.”

It's not clear whether this means Zoom will only be offered on MCU3-based vehicles, or older models with Atom processors as well. However, given the similarity to other streaming apps, we expect this feature to be offered on MCU 2 and MCU 3 cars.

Elon previously alluded to video conferencing being added back in 2020 and the first MCU 3 vehicle was introduced in June 2021.

App Store

When a Zoom icon was found earlier this year in a Tesla interface video it sparked rumors of an app store coming to Teslas.

However, we don't believe that's what's happening here. While an app store may be an idea that is being developed at Tesla, we think this Zoom integration will simply be another app that is offered in addition to YouTube and others.

Release Date

Zoom and Tesla haven't shared an official timeframe for release of this feature, but Zoom did mention the feature would be available soon during its keynote.

It's possible Zoom let the cat out of the bag with this announcement and that it was planned as one of the surprise features in Tesla's upcoming 2022 Christmas update.

Zoom in Action

Watch Zoom’s segment on its Tesla video conferencing integration below.

Tesla Targets Sentry Mode Vampire Drain: Upcoming Update to Slash Power Use by 40%

By Kevin Armstrong
Sentry Mode Update is Coming
Sentry Mode Update is Coming

In an exchange on X, Drew Baglino, Tesla’s Senior Vice President of Powertrain and Energy Engineering, addressed the concerns regarding the power consumption of Tesla’s Sentry Mode. Responding to a user inquiry, Baglino confirmed the company’s commitment to reducing the feature's energy use by approximately 40% through a software update expected in Q2, which begins on April 1.

This announcement follows feedback from Tesla owners regarding the 'vampire drain' experienced when using Sentry Mode, highlighting Tesla's responsive approach to customer feedback and its dedication to continuous improvement. Another X user stated that there should be a breakdown or battery usage. This information already exists, but Baglino politely responded: The energy app provides a wealth of information about where your energy goes. He also linked to our Not a Tesla App article explaining that system.

Understanding the Drain of Sentry Mode

Sentry Mode is an advanced security feature for Tesla vehicles, leveraging the car’s cameras and sensors to monitor and record surroundings for potential threats when parked. Sentry Mode has proven invaluable for vehicle security by activating various deterrents, including pulsing headlights and alarm sounds.

Despite its benefits, the feature’s energy consumption, referred to as “vampire drain,” has been a concern, with estimates suggesting a small yet consistent drain on the vehicle's battery life. By optimizing Sentry Mode's power usage, Tesla enhances the feature's efficiency and extends the usability for owners, particularly when parking for extended periods without access to charging facilities.

Battery Management: Recognizing the importance of battery preservation, Sentry Mode automatically deactivates when the battery level falls to 20%, ensuring that the vehicle remains operational for essential travel.

Activation and Customization: Owners can activate Sentry Mode via the vehicle's touchscreen or mobile app, with options to customize settings, such as disabling sounds or excluding specific locations, tailoring the security feature to individual preferences and requirements.

Tesla's forthcoming software update aims to significantly reduce Sentry Mode's power usage, making it more adaptable for various situations without impacting the car's range or battery longevity. This enhancement aligns with Tesla's commitment to continuous improvement via over-the-air updates, directly responding to customer feedback with practical solutions. Owners looking forward to this change appreciate the balance between maintaining Sentry Mode's security benefits and preserving battery life for everyday needs.

Tesla Adds 'Rose Gold' Cybertruck Wrap and Two Other New Colors

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla now offers Cybertruck wraps in five colors
Tesla now offers Cybertruck wraps in five colors

Remember when there was concern that the appeal of a Cybertruck would die down because there would be too many stainless steel beasts on the road? True story. If there was a concern, it appears to have been handled with wraps; not only Tesla’s wraps but more customized wraps are showing up on social media daily.

More Tesla Wraps

Firstly, Tesla has expanded its palette of Cybertruck wrap options, introducing three vibrant new colors. The chic Satin Rose Gold, the deep Satin Abyss Blue, and the sleek Slip Grey are joined in the lineup alongside the classic Satin Stealth Black and Satin Ceramic White. However, several Cybertruck owners are not waiting for Tesla wraps as more unique Cybertruck wraps are showing up on social media.

Priced at $6,000, while the newly introduced Satin Rose Gold and Satin Abyss Blue wraps are slightly pricier at $6,500. This differentiation in pricing reflects the unique appeal and quality of the new wrap colors.

Tesla outlines several key features and advantages of their Cybertruck color paint film, including:

  • A self-healing, urethane-based film that is significantly more durable and twice as thick as the average vinyl wrap, ensuring superior protection against scratches.

  • An environmentally friendly alternative to traditional vinyl wraps, covering all exterior stainless-steel surfaces of the Cybertruck, enhancing its aesthetic appeal and resilience.

Customized Wraps are Taking Off

Since Tesla wraps were introduced, the company has been criticized for the price point being far too high, while consumers can go to other wrap companies and get their own customized look. Even the unique wraps spotted on the Cybertruck before the delivery event are unavailable. But that is not stopping consumers.

It was after Investor Day in 2023 that Morgan Stanley's managing director, Adam Jonas, a well-known figure within the investment community and someone who has been dubbed a Tesla Bull. Jonas outlined several reasons why he believed the Cybertruck might not fulfill the grand visions held by Elon Musk and the Tesla team, describing it as potentially becoming a "financial side-show," a marker of cultural zeitgeist, and a niche product for enthusiasts.

Jonas argued that the Cybertruck, with its avant-garde design, might not align with this broader affordability mission. He believed that the unique aspects of Cybertruck would be lost and that "indescribable something," when several were on the street,

Yet, the landscape around the Cybertruck and Tesla's position within it has continued to evolve. Contrary to concerns, the burgeoning market for custom and aftermarket wraps for the Cybertruck tells a different story. This vibrant ecosystem of personalization options highlights the vehicle's position as a mode of transportation and a canvas for individual expression.

The concern that the uniqueness of the Cybertruck could diminish with its popularity overlooks the creative solutions that owners and enthusiasts have embraced. From bespoke wraps that offer myriad designs outside of Tesla's offerings to the DIY spirit that has taken hold among the Cybertruck community, it's clear that individuality remains a cornerstone of the Cybertruck experience.

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