FSD Beta v11: A look at Tesla's Voice Drive Notes

By Lennon Cihak
FSD Beta 11.3.1 now lets you leave audio feedback on Autopilot disengagements
FSD Beta 11.3.1 now lets you leave audio feedback on Autopilot disengagements
Chuck Cook/YouTube

Tesla has released the highly anticipated FSD Beta v11.3.1 with Tesla's single-stack highway and city driving. Along with this update comes a new way to report Autopilot feedback to Tesla.

Tesla's new “voice drive-notes,” allows drivers to record an audio message describing the reason for Autopilot's disengagement.

No More Snapshot Button

Before FSD Beta was released to everyone in the U.S. and Canada, Tesla had a snapshot button that allowed drivers to 'flag' certain situations where Autopilot wasn't up to snuff. However, that button is now gone for everyone except very early beta testers.

With this latest beta, those early testers have both, the snapshot button and Tesla's new voice notes. However, we believe that Tesla will transition completely to their voice notes eventually as it provides a hands-free solution and offers the driver the ability to add more detail.

With the new voice notes, Tesla will likely still capture the same information they did with the snapshot button, including the vehicle’s camera feeds and telemetry data.

How Voice Notes Functions

After an Autopilot disengagement, the vehicle will display a small card asking the driver what happened and prompt the driver to share a short voice memo. The card will display:

Autopilot Disengaged. What Happened?

Press voice button to send Tesla an anonymous message describing your experience.

You can then push the right scroll wheel (the same one used to activate voice commands) and provide feedback about the disengagement without removing your hands from the steering wheel.

Recording Limits

Tesla appears to be limiting voice notes to 10 seconds. Once you press the voice button, the screen will display:

Recording...

10 seconds remaining until automatic upload. Press to end recording.

You can let the feature record for all 10 seconds, at which point it'll automatically stop and upload the audio clip to Tesla, or you can stop it early by pressing the scroll wheel again.

You'll also be able to cancel the voice dictation by pressing the 'Cancel' button on the screen.

Once the voice note is sent successfully, Tesla will display a confirmation on the screen.

Recording sent. Thank you. Your feedback will help us improve Autopilot.

Drive Notes in Action

Dan Burkland shows us how FSD Beta's new voice notes feature works.

Misuse of Voice Notes

There's no doubt that this system will be misused by a small percentage of drivers by providing some... interesting recordings. It's not clear how Tesla plans to address this issue, but Tesla could potentially block certain vehicles from sending in voice notes if the system is misused.

Anonymous Recordings

Tesla says that these voice notes will be anonymous, so they likely won't be tied to a specific vehicle or driver profile. However, it's not clear whether Tesla will simply transcribe your audio to text and store that, or if they will retain the audio clip, which could result in it being a little less anonymous.

Transcribing Audio Drive Notes

Tesla’s engineers certainly won’t be listening to every single voice memo sent in, so we’re assuming that Tesla will automatically transcribe these voice memos so that engineers can quickly search through and address various types of reports. However, the question remains if the transcription isn't clear, will the audio clip be available for playback?

Tesla, unfortunately, failed to point out the new voice notes feature in the latest FSD Beta release notes, but this is an exciting feature that will hopefully let many owners provide more detailed feedback on why they disengaged Autopilot.

This feature has been available to Tesla employees and early testers with the public build of FSD Beta 11.3.1 and will hopefully be available to everyone with access to FSD Beta soon.

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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Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

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