Spy Photo Hints at How Tesla's Front Bumper Camera Will Work

By Kevin Armstrong
A new photo of the Cybertruck hints at upcoming functionality
A new photo of the Cybertruck hints at upcoming functionality

A recent Cybertruck photo revealed that Tesla will let drivers access the video feed from the vehicle's front bumper camera. The picture surfaced on Reddit that shows the center screen of the Cybertruck displaying a view from what can only be a front bumper camera.

Enhancing Parking and Navigation

Not only does the image on Reddit confirm that Tesla is introducing a front bumper camera on the Cybertruck, but they already have the software developed to access the new camera feed. The new camera could greatly enhance parking and navigation. This front view adds a new dimension to vehicle awareness, particularly in tight spaces, complex urban environments, or when pulling as far forward as possible in the garage.

Front Bumper Camera Software

The partial image of the Cybertruck's screen shows the front bumper camera streamed on the vehicle's display. The front camera appears to be displayed using the vehicle's existing camera app, which is to display the backup camera.

Our first glimpse at the front bumper camera UI and previous comments by Elon Musk may reveal just how the updated Camera app will work.

Today, the camera app displays the reverse camera on top, and if enabled, the fender, or repeater cameras are shown underneath.

However, this new photo appears to illustrate something much more helpful. We can see the front bumper camera on top and smaller, thumbnail-like camera views underneath it. These narrower thumbnails lead us to believe that Tesla will have three thumbnails underneath the main camera instead of two. You'll have access to the front, reverse, left, and right fender views.

Looking further back, we may just see where Tesla is headed with this new feature.

In 2020, Tesla added the ability to display the left/right fender camera views when using the reverse camera.

Right after the side repeater cameras were made available, a Tesla owner asked Musk whether it would be possible to enlarge the side-view cameras when backing up. In his unmistakable style, Elon replied, "Yes, coming soon."

Based on Musk's comment and the UI in the spy photo, it looks like Tesla is doing just that. You will likely be able to tap on any of the camera views in the app to enlarge them, allowing you to seamlessly switch between the front, rear, and repeater camera views.

This layout is similar to what Tesla already provides in their Sentry Mode viewer, which allows you to tap on various camera views to enlarge them on the screen.

Tesla may even go one step further and automatically switch between the front and rear-facing cameras depending on whether you're moving forward or backward.

Bird's Eye View

Tesla's Camera app is starting to look like the Multi-Camera View introduced in the Tesla app recently. However, it falls short of a true 360-degree image or "bird's eye view" that Tesla owners have been requesting.

Addressing the Blind Spot Dilemma

Adding a front bumper camera could significantly reduce the blind spot issue that became more apparent when Tesla removed the sensors from the front bumper. Tesla's decision to remove the ultrasonic sensors (USS) in late 2022 sparked debates and left several questions unanswered. Many were concerned about the effectiveness of the Tesla Vision system in replacing the USS.

As soon as the new vehicles were in the wild, Tesla owners were keen on testing the accuracy of Tesla Vision. It became clear that there was a blind spot directly in front of the bumper. This new camera location would correct that issue, though it does not provide the 360º view that some owners and critics call for. The Reddit image does not indicate that this has been implemented, leaving room for speculation and possibly future enhancements.

The Model 3 Highland Connection

In connection with the Cybertruck's front bumper camera, there is growing excitement regarding the Tesla Model 3 Highland refresh. The newly designed bumper shape and smoother front end, combined with redesigned headlights, provide opportunities for more technology implementation. Trusted sources have confirmed that a front bumper camera will indeed be part of the Highland update, reinforcing the connection between these two vehicles and the company's forward-thinking approach.

While the Reddit revelation of the Cybertruck's front bumper camera view is fascinating, it's worth noting that this innovation may lead to further discussions and considerations within the Tesla community and the automotive industry. Including a front bumper camera on the Cybertruck and possibly the Model 3 Highland aligns with Tesla's continuous advancements in design and technology, marking a significant development for the company and its consumers. It represents a tangible step in solving real-world driving challenges, enhancing the driving experience without drastically changing the vehicle's aesthetic appeal.

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Tesla FSD Beta v12 Auto Parks, Completes U-Turns, But Removes Traffic-Aware Cruise Control Ability

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla has released FSD Beta v12 to some customers
Tesla has released FSD Beta v12 to some customers

Tesla's FSD Beta version 12.2.1, update 2023.44.30.20, recently started going out to some owners, which resulted in more videos posted on X. There are several examples of amazing technology at work, but also evidence that more work is needed.

Ashok Elluswamy, Tesla's Director of Autopilot Software, recently highlighted the sophistication of FSD Beta v12 on X, emphasizing how the system's end-to-end approach is tackling complex driving scenarios with remarkable ease. His response came to a video of FSD maneuvering around a large puddle.

FSD V12 Does U-Turns

One of the standout features of FSD Beta v12 is its ability to execute U-turns seamlessly when required by the route. This is where real-world examples show the good and the bad of this highly advanced maneuver come into play. X user AI DRIVR, an account posting several high-quality videos of V12.2.1 in action, demonstrates a flawless U-turn.

Unfortunately, not all U-turns posted on X are as pretty; Randolph Kim has been experimenting with several scenarios. While later videos showed better behavior with u-turns and roundabouts, the earlier attempts had to be disengaged.

Parking Mode / First Glimpse at Park Seek

During our first glimpse of FSD v12 during Musk’s livestream, we noticed a new behavior when the vehicle reached its destination. Instead of just stopping, the vehicle now pulled over to the side of the road. However, it looks like the newest release goes one step further.

In a video by ArthurFromX, the vehicle is navigating to a parking lot. Not only does the vehicle successfully navigate to the parking lot, but it hunts around for a spot and then successfully parks without any additional instructions.

This could be our first glimpse at Tesla’s upcoming Park Seek feature that will eventually let the vehicle drop you off at the door and then go park itself.

Return of the Snapshot Button

Tesla appears to have reintroduced the Snapshot button in this update, at least to some owners. The snapshot button allows drivers to send additional information to Tesla regarding Autopilot's performance. This feature and the existing voice command feedback option provide Tesla with invaluable data to improve the FSD system further.

Automatic Speed Offset

Another noteworthy addition is the Automatic Set Speed Offset feature, which grants the vehicle autonomy to adjust its speed based on factors such as road type, traffic flow, and environmental conditions. The video below shows this feature in action. The feature is turned off by default and it currently only applies to street-level roads, but it’s a shift toward more human-like behavior for FSD Beta.

TACC is No Longer Accessible

Recently, Tesla revised the Autopilot activation method to avoid confusion and offered drivers two choices — a single pull of the stalk to enable FSD Beta or the traditional two taps. However, with FSD Beta v12, drivers are now required to use the single pull method to activate Autopilot.

Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC) has traditionally been one pull of the stalk and Autopilot two pulls, but with the new single-pull method to activate Autopilot, TACC becomes unavailable. This hasn’t been a big deal until the release of FSD v12. With v12 Tesla is now requiring FSD Beta to use the single tap activation method.

This means that if a driver chooses to use FSD Beta, then TACC is no longer accessible. The only way to enable it is to go into Controls > Autopilot and turn off FSD Beta and instead choose Autosteer (or TACC). However, if you wish to enable FSD Beta again later, then it requires the vehicle to be in Park. Switching between Autosteer and FSD Beta isn’t practical for drivers. For those who rely on TACC, this issue could be a significant disadvantage in this release.

Update 2023.44.30.20

FSD 12.2.1
Installed on 0% of vehicles
0 Installs today
Last updated: Feb 24, 6:00 am

Several drivers have praised FSD Beta v12’s ability to navigate complex situations, better decision-making, and smoother behavior. However, as with any cutting-edge technology, there have been instances where the system's responses have room for improvement, highlighting the importance of its continued development.

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.

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