One of the first Tesla Model 3s in Australia has sprung a car thief breaking into the car next door in a Sydney car park, while operating in Sentry Mode and capturing the whole escapade on video.
Sent into us by a Sydney reader who recently took possession of their Model 3, the video first shows the owner locking and leaving the car, before the thief turns up, using a specialised tool to open the door of the neighbouring vehicle, then taking items before leaving.
It’s a great example of the in-built security capability of the numerous hidden cameras on Tesla vehicles – and instead of capturing a break-in on the Model 3 itself, the vehicle caught another driver’s vehicle being broken into instead.
The owner of the Model 3 activated Sentry Mode when he parked the car in a Sydney city carpark on Kent Street, and knew he would need to leave his new electric car alone for a few hours.
“I was away for about 5-6 hours,” our reader tells us. “When I returned, it had a little message saying “instances reported”… when I got home I plugged in the USB and saw a lot of things, but one in particular was interesting.”
“The person’s car next to me got broken into.”
According to our reader, a man walked up next to the car and began using the tool to open the car’s door .
For legal reasons we cannot publish the entire clip here. However, as our reader notes, the full video – handed into police – shows the perpetrator’s face as ” clear as a bell”.
“Sentry Mode is cool because it makes it safe for the Model 3 but also good for capturing crime on other people cars,” he says.
“I took the footage into the police and they were amazed that it was so clear – they are sending it off to the local area command [where the carpark in question is located] to see if the person is known to them.”
You can watch the break in here:
For those not across how Sentry Mode works, it is a mode that can be optionally selected in such times as when you need to leave your car in a public place.
Tesla vehicles – Model 3s in particular – have multiple hidden cameras that it uses for features such as Enhanced Summon, and will be critical for eventual Full Self Driving capabilities.
The cameras are also useful for catching those up to no good.
Various events can be noted as a security incident by the car, which is activated by a motion detector.
Anyone approaching a Tesla vehicle in Sentry Mode will be notified of its status, first by a flash of the head lights and tail lights, and by the interior display lighting up to inform anyone looking inside the car that they are being recorded.
If the car is physically disturbed it will start beeping to further deter the person from anything they may have in mind.
As it was not the Model 3 in this instance that was being tampered with, the car did not start beeping but it did flash warning lights, says our reader.
“When the guy was breaking into car next to me you can see [in the uncropped video] the car’s lights flashed, but he didn’t notice it,” he says.
It does use the car battery to operate, so it’s always a good idea to ensure there is enough charge left before activating Sentry Mode. To be able to give a copy of the video to police to identify a perpetrator, you must also have a USB plugged in.
In the recent Version 10 upgrade “over the air” to Tesla’s electric car software – which has just started rolling out on Australia – Tesla added the ability for videos to be sorted in a separate folder on the USB, as well as the ability to delete older clips when the USB is low on storage.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.