Can Teslas automatically call emergency services after a crash?

By Lennon Cihak
Teslas are already able to call emergency services in some regions
Teslas are already able to call emergency services in some regions
Tesla Haffi Iceland/YouTube

Dear Business Magnet Elon,

Like Tesla, safety is of the utmost importance for me when it comes to selecting a vehicle. Owning a Tesla has been a dream of mine since the Model 3 was announced in 2016. As you and the company made wide improvements to the vehicle and their safety, I “bit the bullet” and leased a Model 3 in January 2021.

Last month, Apple announced its new flagship lineup of devices. The most notable feature is emergency calling if a car crash is detected. The device will notify emergency services and contacts once activated, but Tesla doesn’t have such a feature available in the U.S.

It's well documented across various social media accounts that Tesla owners love their vehicles. They drive them over long distances (and some people [like myself] look for reasons to drive long distances). While Tesla’s active safety features constantly remain on and are always improving, it would be a welcomed feature for Tesla to add emergency calling once airbags are activated in the event of a car accident.

I feel strongly that this would greatly improve Tesla’s vehicle safety, as emergency services would likely be able to get to the scene much quicker with the car’s location data and immediate SOS response after airbags are discharged.

There's a lot of data Tesla could share with emergency services that could aid in an accident, such as the speed of the vehicle on impact, whether airbags were deployed, footage of the crash, vehicle location, number of occupants in the vehicle and possibly other information related to the battery to assess the risk of fire, etc.

I trust that my Model 3’s active safety features and structure will spare me and my passengers from any serious harm. However, in the event of getting in an accident that doesn’t allow me to call for help, I would appreciate the vehicle automatically doing this in an effort to get emergency services on scene as quickly as possible.

It's important to note that vehicles in Europe already have an eCall feature that lets a vehicle occupant place an emergency call with the tap of a button. Some vehicle information such as GPS coordinates and VIN are also transmitted to emergency services.

In addition, the vehicle will also place an automated call if the vehicle is involved in a crash. However, this feature is limited to vehicles in the European Union and is not available in North America and many other regions.

How Tesla's eCall Feature Works

In May of this year, I did a cross-country road trip from Los Angeles to Minnesota and back. The trip was around 6,000 miles in total. I went through multiple terrains and plenty of spots where cell service was questionable and I wasn’t at all familiar with the area. Had my vehicle been equipped with an “eCall” feature like the UK, I would’ve had an additional sense of security and safety during my trip.

I assume I’m speaking for the greater Tesla community, when I say I commend you and Tesla on everything you’ve done to build and manufacture the safest vehicles on the road. And I feel the Tesla community would strongly benefit from an SOS/eCall feature in their vehicles in North America, much like the one that is already available in Europe.

Tesla Update 2024.20 Lets Matrix Headlights Adapt to Curves, Adds Supercharger Leaderboards and More

By Karan Singh

Tesla has been on a roll with updates recently, and now update 2024.20 was released to employees over the weekend. This update builds on the many features in the Spring Update and adds a few big improvements.

Adaptive Headlights

New updates to Adaptive Headlights are arriving for European cars with matrix headlights. The new update allows the headlights to adapt to curves in the road ahead of you, enabling better illumination. Having the adaptive headlights work for curves is the second major update for matrix headlights. Update 2024.8 added adaptive high-beam support, letting your high beams stay on longer by turning off select LEDs in the headlights.

Update 2024.2 first brought adaptive high beams to the new Model 3, before it was later introduced to older vehicles with matrix headlights. At this time, it’s not clear whether the improvements to headlights around curves will be exclusive to matrix headlights or also support the new Model 3.

How to Tell If You Have Matrix Headlights

How do you know if you have matrix headlights on your Tesla? On the outer edge of the headlight, there will be a large, round projector dome, like in the image below. If there isn’t a dome, those are standard non-matrix headlights.
Another way to tell is to run a stock light show while facing a wall. If the Tesla logo, in letters, pops up, you have matrix headlights.

Matrix headlights have a circular dome projector on the outer edge.
Matrix headlights have a circular dome projector on the outer edge.

For now, North America still does not have adaptive headlight support, mostly due to legislative and testing issues in the United States. The US recently approved adaptive headlights, and a Tesla employee mentioned they’re working on it. Canada has legalized adaptive headlights since 2018, so we see this deployed in North America at some point in the future.

Supercharger Races on Beach Buggy Racing 2

Tesla is still improving its Arcade functionality, with the addition of local leaderboards at Superchargers in Beach Buggy Racing 2. It appears that each individual Supercharger site will have its own leaderboard, which drivers can compete on while their cars charge. Tesla says there will also be special races to compete in this Beach Buggy Racing 2 update.

Tesla owners can plug in and play with a controller, the touchscreen, or their vehicle’s steering wheel. Thanks to steer-by-wire on the Cybertruck, the actual wheels on the truck won’t move like they do on other Tesla models when playing the game.

We continue to hope that future refreshes to the S, 3, X, and Y will eventually receive steer-by-wire as well, as the feature has quite a few unique uses, whether driving or parked.

Autopilot Strikes and Suspension

An updated Autopilot Strike system, similar to the one that is on Tesla’s upcoming FSD V12.4 update, is on 2024.20 as well. At five strikes, users will be suspended from the use of Autopilot like before, but now Tesla will remove a strike for each 7-day period the driver goes without receiving a strike.

FSD 12.4 also improves vision-based monitoring and removes the steering wheel nag, but that’s not in this latest Tesla update, but will likely be added in the future.

Tesla tends to release new Autopilot features in their FSD updates before releasing them to the wider public for regular Autopilot use.

Hot Weather Improvements

The last set of user-end improvements coming in 2024.20 will be related to hot weather, the opposite of 2024.2.6’s cold weather update. This set of changes intends to improve AUTO mode HVAC performance in hot weather, helping to cool down the cabin faster, while also maintaining comfort at lower noise levels.

There have been several updates in the last six months to Tesla’s HVAC systems, all helping to deliver a quieter, more comfortable experience, with one of the last major ones introducing cool-down or warm-up periods before blowing air into the car cabin.

Tesla Software in China Shows 'Employee FSD Beta Program' as Tesla Prepares for Launch

By Karan Singh

Chris Zeng, a Chinese Tesla content creator on X, recently posted an image with Tesla’s Spring Update – 2024.14, with the words “Employee FSD Beta Program: Registered.”

He also confirmed that although this text appears in the vehicle, there are no actual FSD features enabled yet.

FSD Beta Coming to China

Recently, Tesla began to offer Enhanced Autopilot subscriptions in China, and Chinese corporate giant Baidu announced that it will be providing enhanced 3D mapping for Tesla vehicles as well.

On a recent trip to China, Elon Musk spoke with Premier Li Qiang on the rollout of FSD to China. Later follow-ups said that “it may be possible [for FSD to arrive in China] very soon”.

FSD Shadow Mode

Tesla’s cars can operate FSD in Shadow Mode – which means that the vehicle is running FSD in the background without any real output except analytics. This is a common software practice that lets software engineers compare the process they’re testing against an existing known output and compare the results. In this case, Tesla compares what FSD would do to what the driver does, and any discrepancies are reported back to be analyzed.

With this information, we could guess that FSD has been operating in Shadow Mode in China for a while, and this new Employee FSD Beta Program will be the beginning of employee testing in China, providing even more data for the end-to-end process that is FSD V12.

FSD Beta, not Supervised FSD

Most interestingly, the photo refers to “FSD Beta” instead of “Supervised,” which Tesla started using with FSD 12.3.3 in March 2024. This could imply that FSD in China isn’t ready for a “Supervised” variant, and it’s considered to be in more of a testing stage.

In the photo, we can also see that it says “Wave 1,” which is what Tesla calls the group of employees who receive “pre-release” Tesla updates on their personal vehicles. Wave 1 serves as a final test for software before its released to the public. In most cases, the software is rolled out publicly within a couple of weeks, however, there have been times when bugs are found and Tesla releases revision before a public release.

Release Date

Prior to larger releases here in North America, we generally see Tesla ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) testing and verification vehicles on the roads, which have not yet been spotted in China.

Whether these vehicles will be needed in China is up for debate, but once FSD features begin rolling out to employees, we should get a better idea of a public release in China.

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