Tesla is implementing a new hazard light pattern that improves drivers' attention
Emergency Safety Solutions
Tesla is rolling out a significant safety enhancement through a software update. Teslas, already the safest vehicles on the planet, got a little safer thanks to a small company based in Texas. While this article will highlight the advancement in safety, it will also applaud the work of Emergency Safety Solutions, which dared to challenge the old way of doing things.
Overnight Evolution: The Game Changer
Tesla North America didn't mince words when they announced: "If an airbag is deployed, hazard lights will automatically activate & flash faster to improve visibility." Elon Musk added, "New Tesla safety feature uploaded via over-the-air software update. Your car just got better while you slept."
It got much better thanks to a partnership with Emergency Safety Solutions (ESS), which we spotlighted a year ago. The small company, now just five years old, used a Tesla Model 3 to display its advancements in the hazard lights system, which had remained unchanged for more than 70 years. After numerous studies, the company changed everything about the hazard lights and approached Tesla with its findings.
Chilling Frequency: Every seven minutes, a disabled vehicle is involved in a crash on American roads. The result? An alarming 15,000 injuries or fatalities annually.
Ancient Flaws: The primary culprit behind these startling figures is a hazard light system that hasn't been updated in over seven decades.
The Solution: A frequency shift by adjusting flash frequencies from the sluggish 1.5Hz system to between 4Hz and 6Hz immensely heightens driver alertness. Hertz is a unit of frequency, which equals the number of cycles per second. In this case, the frequency of flashing lights is increased from 1.5 flashes per second, up to 4 - 6 flashes per second.
Real-World Outcomes: When 5Hz flash frequency was tested, drivers reacted a crucial 12 seconds faster. Moreover, they recognized an issue of more than three football fields sooner than the 70-year version. The number of drivers shifting to the safer side of a disabled vehicle also shot up dramatically — from 30% to an impressive 87%.
Emergency Safety Solutions also posted on X: "Great step toward making our roads safer for people in disabled and vulnerable vehicles! We appreciate our partnership with Tesla and applaud this major milestone in our mission to protect drivers when they need it most."
Tesla states in their post on X that this update is rolling out now in the U.S. to Model 3/Y vehicles and newer Model S and Xs.
It's more likely that H.E.L.P. is implemented in update 2023.38, but we have yet to receive release notes for vehicles in the U.S., so we'll have to wait and see if this enhancement made it in.
More H.E.L.P. to Come
Keep an eye out for even more safety advancements courtesy of this partnership with ESS and Tesla. The company created the Hazard Enhanced Location Protocol or HELP. Beyond the lightning-fast flashes, HELP seamlessly integrates with in-car and phone navigation systems, giving drivers a heads-up about potential hazards before they become visible. It's like giving your Tesla a sixth sense.
Unfortunately, that will take longer as it would require more automakers to get on board with this new system. However, as we've realized, automakers are following Tesla's leadership on several fronts, and they may also increase road safety and implement the advanced system.
If an airbag is deployed, hazard lights will automatically activate & flash faster to improve visibility
The first is firmware code that refers to a "front camera washer," which implies that upcoming models with a front bumper camera will also include a washer to hose off the lens.
The second appears to be available now with update 2023.44.1, and that's changes to the seat belt reminder system.
Front Camera Washer
The front-camera washer was revealed through Green's deep dive into Tesla's firmware code. An upcoming refresh to the Model S and Model X is expected to include a front bumper camera, as well as ambient lighting, similar to the new Model 3. When the new Model 3 lands in North America next year, it is also expected to carry this additional camera.
While its possible that the car will automatically clean the front camera based on when it sees dirt or rain droplets (similarly to how the wipers work), it appears that Tesla will also provide a button to manually clean the front bumper camera.
It's not clear where this additional button will live, but it could be added next to the Wipers and Sentry Mode buttons in Controls. Based on the icon, it doesn't look like it'll be its own icon in the bottom rows of apps, known as the launcher.
Seatbelt Reminder Changes
Another change Green discovered was a smaller change related to the seatbelt reminder system. In alignment with the standards set by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Tesla updated its seatbelt reminder tone. As per Green's findings, the new tone sounds more frequent and is higher-pitched.
Tesla has been tinkering with tone and patterns regarding safety aspects. The company recently changed how the hazardous lights function, introducing speed changes in flashing and light brightness after an accident.
These small changes reflect Tesla's commitment to consistently evolving their vehicles through hardware and software changes.
According to previous images of the Cybertruck's front bumper camera, the Cybertruck may be the first Tesla vehicle with the new lens cleaner. We should find out more this Thursday, when Tesla delivers the first trucks.
Tesla's Cybertruck is finally set to make its grand debut this Thursday, and it appears that the gang is all here. The latest sightings at Tesla's Gigafactory in Texas show an assembly of over 25 Cybertrucks. This fleet, captured by drone pilot and Giga Texas observer Jeff Roberts, is raising the excitement even more for what will be a monumental event.
Distinguishing Production Models from Test Units
Close examination of the spotted Cybertrucks indicates a mix of potential production models and test units. Some vehicles show signs of off-road testing, while others have different builds. They are all quite likely the ones that we have been writing about for months as production models would appear like Bigfoot sightings.
Despite the visible fleet, Tesla has announced plans to deliver only the first ten units at the launch event. This conservative start echoes Tesla's previous product launches, like the Model 3, where initial production was limited. Industry experts suggest a significant ramp-up in the coming year, with projections of substantial delivery numbers 2024.
What to Expect from the Cybertruck
Tesla has been tight-lipped about the final specifications of the Cybertruck. However, leaked details and hints from Tesla's earnings calls, Elon Musk's posts on X, and Joe Rogan's appearance suggest innovative features, like being arrow repellant, and being able to 'crab-walk'.
We also know the truck's towing capacity of 11,000 lbs and a payload of 2,500 lbs. It also has an advanced charging architecture and unique utility elements. These features are expected to set the Cybertruck apart from the truck and the electric truck segments, offering functionality and futuristic design.
Tesla's Strategic Approach to the Electric Truck Market
The Cybertruck launch is not just about introducing a new vehicle; it's about Tesla asserting its position in the electric truck market. The Cybertruck's journey from concept to launch reflects Tesla's commitment to pushing the boundaries of electric vehicle technology and design. The latest Elon Musk biography, written by Walter Isaacson, details many of the behind-the-scenes details of the production of this incredible vehicle.
The sighting of over 25 Cybertrucks at Gigafactory Texas indicates that Tesla is ready to put on a show for the delivery event. The event is scheduled to start at noon PST on November 30.
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