Tesla seat sensors could be used to improve smartphone Bluetooth handoff

A Tesla Model 3 utilizing its Navigate on Autopilot feature. (Credit: Tesla)

The transition from a cell phone to Tesla’s Bluetooth system may become smoother with the help of the company’s built-in seat occupancy sensors. The idea was a suggestion from Tesla owner Rob Hoehn.

Hoehn wrote: “When a Tesla is unlocked and you’re in the middle of a call, it’s pretty eager to switch the audio from the phone over to the car. This can be frustrating when you’re in the middle of a call and you are not even inside the car yet. Or when you’re near the car and someone else gets in the car a similar thing happens. Suggestion: use the seat occupancy sensor to check if the driver is in their seat. Once the seat is occupied, then switch the Bluetooth audio over to the car.”

The idea was met with lots of support on r/TeslaMotors and was the most upvoted Tesla idea in the thread. Hoehn then decided to share his idea with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who was enthusiastic about the idea. “We should have done this ages ago,” Musk wrote in a reply tweet to Hoehn.

Other Tesla owners threw out additional improvements on the heels of Musk’s response. One owner stated the transition from music streaming apps to a telephone call was rough and caused intermittent moments of silence as the car transitioned to Bluetooth over the vehicle’s speakers.

Transitioning from literally speaking on a phone to a car’s speaker system seems to be an issue in most cars. In traditional combustion engine cars, the phone will switch over to the car speakers when the engine is turned on making the transition smoother. There is no key to turn or button to push in a Tesla to activate its motor, however. When an owner is in the Bluetooth range of their vehicle, the phone may automatically connect to the vehicle’s speaker system even if the driver is not in the vehicle itself.

The utilization of a Bluetooth system that would rely on seat sensors could be the solution to this issue. The Bluetooth system would not activate unless the driver’s seat was occupied by a human being and would not connect to the car’s speaker system if the owner is simply near the vehicle.

Tesla has utilized its seat sensors for other solutions in the past. The company submitted a patent in January 2019 that would use the sensors to determine what airbags would be most beneficial for a particular passenger’s size and frame in the event of an accident. The sensors are a versatile piece of equipment and they give Tesla free reign to improve its vehicles. While they have been used for safety improvements in the past, this accessibility feature will give Tesla owners additional ease of access when using the Bluetooth feature to have a phone call.

Joey Klender: Joey has been a journalist covering electric mobility at TESLARATI since August 2019. In his time at TESLARATI, Joey has broken several big stories, including the first images of the Tesla Model S Plaid, the imminent release of the 4680 Model Y through EPA certification, and several expansions to the Lucid AMP-1 factory in Arizona, to name a few. His stories have been featured in several publications, including Yahoo! Finance, Fox News, CNET, and Seeking Alpha. In his spare time, Joey is playing golf, watching MMA, or cheering on any of his favorite sports teams, including the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles, Miami Heat, Washington Capitals, and Penn State Nittany Lions. You can get in touch with joey at joey@teslarati.com. He is also on Twitter @KlenderJoey.
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