Tesla to use internal microphone to detect emergency vehicles and aid in FSD

Announced on July 20, 2021
Future Feature
186 days since announcement
By Nuno Cristovao

As Tesla continues to inch closer to releasing Autopilot on city streets, and one day full self-driving, they need to account for more occurrences on the road. As we talked about briefly, Tesla now detects brake lights on vehicles in the latest beta and will soon also detect turn signals and even hand signals.

Elon has also said that Tesla will soon detect emergency vehicles such as ambulances, police cars and fire trucks. For Tesla to assess the situation properly they will also need to detect whether the vehicle is in an emergency situation so that it can follow proper driving procedures, such as pulling off, stopping at a green traffic light or letting the vehicle pass.

In order for Tesla to be able to do this, they will not only detect the emergency vehicles lights, but will also look for sirens.

Tesla Model 3 interior

Teslas do not currently have external microphones. The only microphones they have currently is the internal one used for voice commands and hands-free calling. Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla will start utilizing the internal microphone to help detect the presence of emergency vehicles.

Listening for sirens may only be the beginning if Tesla is successful in detecting situations using sound alone. What if they could detect other sounds that help the car further understand the environment and the current situation. Maybe listening for car honks, screeching tires or crashing sounds may be helpful. This may even be the start of Tesla adding a "Hey, Tesla"-like wake command to activate the voice-assistant like VW does in their ID vehicles. When Tesla starts to use the microphone for things beyond Bluetooth calling and voice commands, it could open up a whole new door of possibilities.

It's great to see Tesla moving forward and increasing Autopilot's capability, but this feature comes with some possible issues. How will Tesla distinguish between real emergency vehicle sounds and sirens coming from music or a ringtone?

The short answer is they probably won't. In fact, who hasn't been tricked before when hearing police sirens on the radio only to look around them and realize it's not real. Tesla appears to be building FSD features based on human abilities, such as seeing and hearing. If a human can do it based on vision and hearing, then why not a machine? Especially if that machine has 360-degrees of vision and the ability to make pinpoint calculations in a fraction of a second.

Tesla Insurance launches in Arizona and Ohio; now offered in five states

January 20, 2022
By Nuno Cristovao

If you've had a Tesla for a few years then you probably remember what it was like getting an insurance quote for the vehicle.

Tesla insurance

Experiences vary, but it was not uncommon to come across insurers who would not insure a Tesla or who asked for an extremely high premium.

In fact, the problem was so big that Tesla decided to do something about it. They released their own car insurance division.

Tesla launched Tesla Insurance in 2019. Unfortunately, it was only offered in California at the time. Car insurance laws vary by state so Tesla needs to be approved in each state they want to do business in.

Tesla only expanded beyond California in the second half of 2021. In October Tesla expanded to Texas and last month Tesla added on Illinois.

Tesla is now expanding even further. As of today, Tesla is now offering car insurance in Arizona and Ohio as well.

In a tweet last year, Elon talked about the slow regulatory process for offering car insurance and mentioned that Tesla was looking to offer insurance in New York as well.

The regulatory process for approval to offer insurance is extremely slow & complex, varying considerably by state. Tesla is hoping to offer real-time (based on actual driving history) insurance in Texas next month. Probably next year before we get approval in New York.

-Elon Musk

Tesla determines your car insurance rate using their Safety Score algorithm, which is similar to Progressive's Snapshot rewards. Once you approve Tesla to collect driving data, they'll monitor your vehicle for harsh stops, fast turning, and following too closely.

Your insurance rate will then be based on your driving habits and your chances of getting into an accident.

Some drivers report having much lower rates with Tesla Insurance, while others report that their rate was lower with their current insurance company.

If Tesla offers insurance in your state, you may want to consider getting a quote directly on their site to see if you can lower your premium.

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Upcoming Release

View the release notes for the upcoming version 2021.44.30.11.

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

Days Until Next Release

4

Estimated days until version 2022.4 is released.

Subscribe to be notified when new software is released.

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